A pastor's son fatally stabbed outside a Temecula bar had been dragged to the tavern door on his backside before the knife attack, a witness testified Wednesday.
Ryan Armstrong was stabbed about 10:45 p.m. Dec. 26, 2008; his friend Joel Ross was seriously injured, also suffering stab wounds.
Matthew Basler, James Fung and Marvin Black all face 60 years if convicted of the murder of Armstrong and the attempted murder of Ross.
Fung is additionally charged with trying to intimidate a witness.
On Wednesday, Christopher Peters testified that on the night of the stabbing, he and his buddies -- including deceased victim Ryan Armstrong -- were at ET Sports Lounge in Temecula when an argument broke out.
That argument -- reportedly over was quashed and everyone went back to drinking, as Armstrong sought to keep the peace, according to authorities.
About two hours later, Peters testified, he looked over and spotted Armstrong, "on his back -- pretty much on his butt -- being dragged out the back door."
That altercation, said Peters, was "very very brief."
It was a short while later that things became deadly serious, Peters testified.
As he and some other friends stood outside talking, a truck came around to the alley behind the bar and Peters recognized two of the occupants.
"I said, 'oh those are the guys from earlier who were starting crap with Ryan,'" Peters testified.
As the truck slowed, almost stopped and then took off again, Peters and his two pals followed in the direction taken by the truck's driver.
As they got to the end of the building's wall and turned its corner, Peters heard loud noises, he testified.
Peters said he saw "one person on the ground and one person standing over him."
It was Ross on the ground, said Peters, and a man identified as Basler standing over him.
"He was on his back," Peters said of Ross. "With his right arm covering himself."
Peters said he ran to stand between the man on the ground and the man standing.
"I was now between Joel and that person," Peters testified.
"I noticed in his hand that he had a knife."
Peters said that Basler took a swing at him first with his right hand -- sans knife -- and then with his left hand, which held the knife, he said.
The weapon was a folding knife, with a brown handle and gold-colored trim, Peters said.
As more people streamed out of the bar to see what was going on, Basler ran to the truck and got in, Peters said.
Ross lay on the ground breathing heavily, "not quite conscious and very bloody," Peters said.
In other testimony, prosecution witness Christopher Martin said that after the initial argument over the woman things seemd to settle down.
But after Armstrong was dragged to the back door, Martin said, he asked the bar owner to speak to the bouncer.
"Ross (the owner) approached the bouncer, the bouncer approached them (Basler's group) and they left," Martin testified, adding that he and Armstrong's group were never asked to leave the bar.
Eventually however, they did get ready to go, he said.
Armstrong was upset about being dragged in the bar, Martin said during cross-examination by Basler's attorney, William Wolfe.
Martin said that when he and his friends were outside, a truck approached and he saw Basler and another man get out of the vehicle.
The witness said he was knocked down and then kicked; he saw Black heading over to Ross.
"I for sure remember him fighting me," Martin said of Black during cross-examination by Black's attorney, Joshua Knight.
Martin testified that he never heard Armstrong say he wanted to fight.
He could not say where Basler was when he was down on the ground and Ross was being approached.
Armstrong was the son of Ron Armstrong, pastor of Cornerstone Community Church, 34570 Monte Vista Drive, in Wildomar.