MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Police say a gas station clerk stabbed an unarmed customer to death and cleaned up the blood before officers arrived.
Joseph Smith, 62, was charged with second-degree murder following the stabbing early Monday morning at the Exxon at the corner of Poplar and Danny Thomas downtown.
Investigators said Smith claimed he stabbed the victim in self-defense, but surveillance video from the store showed that wasn’t the case.
Police said the video showed the victim entering the store and the two men arguing after Smith told him to remove his hoodie.
They said Smith walked toward the victim aggressively, and the two began wrestling to the ground when a witness broke up the fight. After that, police said the victim got to his feet, and Smith unfolded a large knife, charged at the victim, and stabbed him in the stomach.
They said the victim did not appear to have a weapon and was struggling with Smith for control of the knife when Smith stabbed him several more times.
Police said Smith eventually let the victim go, and he fell to the ground outside the doorway of the store. They said Smith came back into camera view and was seen wiping down a small object, his face, and mopping up the blood from the floor.
Investigators said Smith admitted to arguing with the victim about the hoodie and said while they were wrestling, he hit his head, became angry, and stabbed the man.
Smith is also charged with fabricating or tampering with evidence. He is being held on an $80,000 bond.
So far, the victim has not been identified.