Tensions run high between Portland teen girls, one admits to killing the other

19-year-old charged in fatal stabbing of 14-year-old

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- There are two sides to every story, including the one involving two Portland families- one with a murdered 14-year-old, and the other, with the accused killer. Tiffany James, 19, was arrested and charged with murder after police said she stabbed 14-year-old Madison Branch to death.

The family of the suspect was quick to call this a self-defense case but the family of the victim claim, on the contrary, this was an unwarranted murder.

"She was just defending herself,” James’ mother, Deborah James said.

"They are saying this so they think they have a self-defense case. They don't. They have a murder case,” Branch’s aunt, Christy Branch said.

Police said James stabbed and killed 14-year-old Madison Branch at a gas station on 21st and Duncan Monday night. It happened in the Portland neighborhood, only a few blocks away from each of the girls’ homes.

"Maddie is the victim here. Nobody is a victim besides Madison. And we will get justice for her,” Branch said.

Her heartbroken family describes the girl as kind.

Branch said, "Never, never ever has my niece bullied anybody. Never."

But her accused killer's mother said that's not true.

James said, "It’s been an ongoing bullying case with another juvenile. Right now, it's just self-defense."

She said the issue started years ago, at the girls’ school- Westport Middle School. James claims her daughter was bullied by Branch. She said her daughters and other girls got into a fight on Monday night and when James’ stabbed Branch, she was defending herself and her sister.

But the victim’s step dad described a different scene. He said, “She was an innocent bystander. Her friend was in need. She was helping her friend out, and that got her stabbed by an adult."

James pleaded not guilty in court Monday. Her mother said they do intend to argue self-defense in the case.

"She wasn't defending her, no. If a grown up is defending somebody, they're going to do anything they can to break that up. They wouldn't kill a child,” Branch said.

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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