A Calabasas man arrested in the stabbing death of a roommate last week was freed after authorities confirmed that he was defending himself from a machete attack, investigators said Tuesday.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department on Monday released Mark Steven Wagman, 27, after detectives corroborated his statements about the killing, which occurred early in the morning Friday, Lt. David Horton said.
Wagman grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed his longtime friend, Wayne Rossin, 25, after Rossin "freaked out" because of "prolonged use of cocaine" and swung at Wagman with the machete during an argument, Detective Cheryl Lyons said.
"He was my best friend and I'm really hurt about it," Wagman said in an interview. "It was a nightmare for me. . . . I cried for four days."
Rossin had been smoking rock cocaine when the argument began, Lyons said. Wagman said Rossin's smoking of cocaine late at night was interfering with his sleep and led to the fatal fight. Lyons said detectives have not been able to confirm the cause of the fight.
"As a result of cocaine usage, I think that Wayne kind of got crazy that night and jumped on Mark," Lyons said. "Wayne is quite a bit bigger than Mark and he just kept punching him and throwing him against the wall."
A third roommate, Mike Glasser, 27, and a man who was visiting the apartment in the 23600 block of Park Capri saw the fight and confirmed that Rossin swung the machete at Wagman, who fought back with the knife, Lyons said.
"He ran over and grabbed the machete and started swinging it at me," Wagman said. "He just missed my head with the machete by about half an inch."
After being stabbed, Rossin fled the apartment, knocking on the doors of two nearby vacant apartments, Lyons said. He then left the building, dumped the machete in the bushes and wandered to another building in the apartment complex, where he collapsed, Lyons said.
Wagman left the apartment, called authorities from a pay telephone and told them that his friend had been stabbed, Lyons said. When detectives later told Wagman that his friend was dead, "the poor kid just fell apart," she said.
The kitchen knife used in stabbing Rossin has not been found, Lyons said. No drugs were found in the apartment, Lyons said.
Wagman said he and Rossin had been best friends since "skateboard age," when each was about 15.