by: Amy Clancy Updated:
SEATTLE - University of Washington student Graham Harper was called a hero when he rushed to defend a group of women, then was stabbed by Jarred Ha.
Ha, also a UW student at the time, was arrested, suspended by the university and charged with assault.
Last month, a jury acquitted Ha, ruling that he stabbed Harper in self-defense.
On Friday, Ha sat down with KIRO 7 to clear his name.
"If my name is already out there, might as well have it out there with the truth," Ha said, with his attorney by his side. "The truth is, I was the victim that night."
The violence broke out in January
, 2015 in the 5500 block of Brooklyn Avenue Northeast. Ha and a woman got into an argument over parking. Ha said , she struck him in the head and that at least three of her friends also started beating him.
Harper then came to the women’s aid.
Harper spoke with KIRO 7’s Nick McGurk shortly after Ha stabbed him. "I told him (Ha) to leave, and told him, you don't hit girls, and I pushed him."
Harper admitted he slammed Ha into a nearby car once. Ha said Harper slammed him multiple times.
Fearing for his life, he stabbed Harper in the abdomen, something a jury found was justified.
"I could have been in a wheelchair, I could have been dead, and instead of my family planning to go to a trial to see me acquitted, they could have been planning a funeral" Ha said.
Ha's lawyer said media coverage after incident was frustrating because it only included Harper's side of the story. But Zachary Wagnild said he was confident, once witnesses to the incident testified in court, his client would be found not guilty.
"I don't think that at the end of the day there was any doubt in anyone's mind that Jarred was potentially saving his own life, or at least keeping himself from being very, very seriously injured," Wagnild told KIRO 7.
Even though Ha was acquitted, he is not out of legal hot water. Harper is now suing him in civil court.
Neither Harper nor his attorney responded to requests for an interview on Friday.
Ha is now hoping the University of Washington will allow him back in school. He's also waiting to hear how much of his attorneys' fees will be reimbursed because of the special self-defense verdict.
"Nothing can really take this back, but to make me whole again, I'd like to continue my education" he said.
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