Man found guilty in USC death

Two weeks after his trial began, the Los Angeles man accused of fatally stabbing USC student Bryan Frost last fall was found guilty of second-degree murder Monday afternoon.

Travion Ford, 25, now faces 16 years to life in state prison for the Sept. 18 incident, when Frost slammed a metal gate closed near the intersection of 29th Street and Orchard Avenue, sparking a fight between the two.

After the men initially fought, Ford ran inside his mother’s apartment and retrieved a knife, which he used to stab Frost during a second alteraction.

Frost, who was 23 years old and a cinema student, later died of a stab wound to the heart, Deputy District Attorney Kennes Ma said in his opening statement Aug. 20.

Although the 12-person jury did not convict Ford of first-degree murder — the most severe charge he faced — it did reject his attorney’s argument that her client stabbed Frost, a former West Point cadet, to protect his own life.

“The only reason Mr. Ford used deadly force was because he felt his life was in danger and he would die,” Diane Butko, Ford’s attorney, said in her opening statement.

Ma said he thought the jury’s ruling was fair.

“Obviously I wouldn’t have argued for murder if I didn’t think there was evidence for it,” he said. “I really believe the jury made the correct decision based on the evidence.”

Anquenette Young, Ford’s fiancée and the mother of his 4-month-old son, was shocked by the jury’s decision.

“That’s not fair,” she said after learning of the verdict.

Frost’s mother Paige Lee, who traveled to Los Angeles from Idaho with other members of his family and friends for the trial, said she and Frost’s father, Jere Frost, were “grateful” for the ruling.

“It’s so hard, because nothing is going to bring my son back, but certainly you want to see the truth be told,” she said. “To have Bryan be vindicated in all of this … he was the victim. He was not the bad guy here. He was the victim.”

Still, Lee said the day was filled with mixed emotions.

“It’s kind of a lose, win, lose,” she said. “We win the verdict, but we still lost because we’ll never have him back.”

Ford is due back in court for his sentencing Oct. 29. At that point, Frost’s family will be given the opportunity to address Ford. Ma said the family planned to return to Los Angeles in order to do so.