Townsend takes witness stand: "I am not an animal"

By Kelly McCarthy

Townsend takes witness stand: "I am not an animal"

November 20, 2013 Updated Nov 20, 2013 at 6:06 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The man on trial in Broome County court tells jurors he was nervous and scared the night police arrested him for attempted murder.

Ralph Townsend, 54, of Binghamton is accused of trying to stab his girlfriend to death. He took the witness stand on Wednesday to tell jurors his defense.

Townsend answered questions from prosecution calmly and made occasional jokes regarding his case.

He testified he was not angry with his girlfriend when the incident occurred in August 2012, but that he panicked and overreacted when police knocked down his door and forced entry.

Police responded to an apartment at 6 Miles St. after receiving two 911 calls from a woman inside. Officers found Townsend on top of his girlfriend and stabbing her repeatedly.

Police shot Townsend twice in the back to stop him. Eileen Montagno,39, was rushed to the hospital and survived the attack.

Townsend denied stabbing his girlfriend and told jurors he "poked her twice" as she was swinging her arms during the argument.

Townsend is also charged with assault and possession of a weapon.

Both sides have presented their evidence to jurors and closing arguments begin Thursday in Broome County Court.