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An Illinois Passenger Didn't Like The Direction A Man Behind The Wheel Of A Van Was Going. So The Driver Fatally Stabbed Him In The Heart.

illinois man guilty stabbing man heart
Source: Franklin County Sheriff's Office; Unsplash

Mar. 24 2023, Published 5:27 p.m. ET

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An Illinois defendant was convicted of murder after fatally stabbing a man in the heart during a disagreement the two men got into while driving down a rural road.

On March 23, Heath Dunning, 35, was found guilty by a jury for the April 2021 death of Dennis “Lance” Martin, the Franklin County State Attorney’s Office announced. Officials said the trial lasted three days and the jury reached their decision after deliberating for three hours.

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Around 9:00 p.m. on April 15, 2021, deputies were called to a rural road in West Frankfort, where they found 50-year-old Martin suffering from a stab wound.

Martin was declared dead at the scene and officers arrested Dunning for suspicion of murder.

Officials said Dunning was driving Martin’s van when the two men fought over “Dunning’s direction of travel,” the State Attorney’s Office said.

Martin tried to take the keys out of the ignition, which is when Dunning grabbed a knife and “swung toward Martin’s chest, plunging the blade between Martin’s ribs and deep into Martin’s heart.”

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After stabbing Martin, Dunning pulled over in a driveway and called 911. Officers responded, but reports said Martin’s “damage was immediately fatal” and he died before paramedics arrived.

Dunning was previously convicted of aggravated battery, criminal damage to property and burglary, officials said. He will be sentenced at a later date.


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