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Update: Trial nears in stabbing death of USC student

August 13, 2009 |  7:53 pm

The fatal encounter began when USC film student Bryan Frost closed the metal gate of this apartment complex as he walked by with friends. Travion Ford came out yelling and the two began to fight, according to testimony. Credit: Spencer Weiner/Los Angeles Times The trial of Travion T. Ford, a 25-year old black man, on charges of killing Bryan R. Frost, a 23-year old white man, is scheduled to begin Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court. Frost, a USC student, was stabbed early on Thursday, Sept. 18, near 28th Street and Orchard Avenue in University Park.

The Times' Larry Gordon has a story today on rising town-gown tensions in the lead-up to the trial:

The two young men were close in age, shared the same turf in the neighborhoods near USC but led very different lives. Then, with the slamming of a metal gate, they had a chance encounter late one night in September.

Location of Frost's stabbing. Click to learn more about the demographics of this area. After drinking with friends, Bryan R. Frost, a USC student and aspiring film director, walked past a sliding gate just north of campus and, on a whim, shoved it closed. The loud clang drew the ire of Travion T. Ford -- street name "Poison" -- who was visiting his mother's apartment there.

Angry words were exchanged, then they fought. Frost, 23, an Idaho native and former West Point cadet with an excellent academic record, died at a hospital later that morning of knife wounds.

Ford, a 25-year-old warehouse worker who has had several brushes with the law, was arrested six days after the Sept. 18 fight and is scheduled to stand trial next week on a murder charge. Facing a maximum sentence of 26 years to life in prison, Ford has pleaded not guilty and told police that he stabbed Frost in self-defense against a drunk and aggressive opponent.

Frost's death triggered grief around campus and calls for better security. Among other things, USC and the Yellow Cab company made it easier for students to use taxis at night rather than walk home. Meanwhile, some area residents said they were upset about the death but also expressed annoyance over having rowdy students as neighbors.

Ford's relatives and friends say his case is being handled more harshly because it involves a white USC student and a black defendant and because the school wants to project a security-conscious image.

Read more: Tensions high as trial approaches in fatal stabbing of USC student

Photo: The fatal encounter began when USC film student Bryan Frost closed the metal gate of this apartment complex as he walked by with friends. Travion Ford came out yelling and the two began to fight, according to testimony. Credit: Spencer Weiner/Los Angeles Times

The comments to this entry are closed.

Comments (6)

Why do blacks ALWAYS have to use the race card?

Murder is murder. The fact that the suspect is black and a non-USC student should not factor into the case and I don't believe it will. I don't understand how the case is being handled unfairly or harshly. Both families have suffered greatly and will continue to grieve over the loss of two lives. Fights occurr but some people fight unfairly. If you go back to get a weapon and come back with the intention of inflicting deadly injury your case will be handled harshly no matter what ethnicity you are. Sorry for the losses to both families.

why did he have to pull a knife? over a slammed gate??

Who cares if this guy is black. That doesn't make him special. We should charge this guy with a hate crime. Black men are out of control. Take a look at your own homicide blog. It's time the truth coes out.

i am a personal freind of travion ford....he was not a racial person...i am a young latin guy who got to meet the ford family and was treated like part of it....what travion did was wrong, still doesn'T make him an evil person.....

Why do blacks always play the "race card"? Gee, I dunno, B.S. Maybe because whites invented it?

BTW, very appropriate screen name.


About the Reporters
The Homicide Report is compiled using information from the Los Angeles County coroner's office, local law enforcement agencies and the Los Angeles Times. It is written by Times staff writers.

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