One man dead after Tuesday night fight at house party

Aug. 4, 2010 at 3:04 a.m.

Friends and family of Lance Ponton lit candles and put them in the water during a candle vigil following Ponton's stabbing death.

Friends and family of Lance Ponton lit candles and put them in the water during a candle vigil following Ponton's stabbing death.

William Lance Ponton, of Victoria, died apparently from stab wounds early Wednesday morning. A man has been charged with murder in the case.

Ponton, 21, died after being stabbed 11 times. Twenty-year-old Daulton Jakob Buffum, of Victoria, has been charged with murder in the crime.

"Lance was such a great person. He was like a brother to me, and he will always be in my prayers," said 18-year-old Ali Smith.

The stabbing occurred Tuesday night during a house party held in the 1500 block of West Beck Road, said Chief Deputy Terry Simons with the Victoria County Sheriff's Office.

Police aren't releasing many details, but witnesses painted a picture of a brutal stabbing.

Lance's 18-year-old brother, Dustin, said his brother went to the party to celebrate his recent release from prison for forgery.

"My brother just got back, and he wanted to hang out with his friends," Dustin said.

Ponton was one of about 20 guests at the party, which by all accounts, was going smoothly until the fighting began.

"Everybody was having a good time partying and drinking," said 17-year-old Claudia Campbell, who was at the party.

It is unclear whether Buffum, aka "DJ," lived at the residence or if he, too, was just a party guest.

Campbell said things began to get heated between Ponton and Buffum when Ponton tried to flirt with a single girl at the party.

After exchanging words with each other, Buffum allegedly threw the first punch, which prompted a brawl of sorts to begin.

"DJ went back into the house for a little while, then came back out with a knife," Campbell said.

Lance's 17-year-old brother, Michael, who was not at the party himself, described what his mutual friends told him about his brother's final hours.

"It was 3-on-1," said Michael, who said Buffum and two other guys were holding his brother down. "They were stabbing him in the heart."

Four other individuals were injured trying to break up the fight between the two men, said Campbell.

About 2:20 a.m. Wednesday, the victim was transported by private vehicle to Citizens Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead.

Buffum fled the scene shortly after the incident, but later turned himself into authorities at the hospital, Simons said.

Described as a funny and caring guy, those closest to Lance said his life ended just as he was beginning to start anew.

"He had a new job that he was starting on Monday," said Dustin. "Everything was going perfect."

Known by many around town as the "Ponton Brothers" because of their enviable closeness, Michael said he and his older brother were having a hard time with the passing of the third member of their trio.

"We're trying to manage," Michael said.

Buffum was charged with murder and is currently being held at the Victoria County Jail.

The case is still under investigation.



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