DENVER — Friends of a Denver chef stabbed to death by a homeless man say they don’t believe the suspect’s claim that he was trying to defend himself.

Raoul Solis Lanius told police he stabbed 35-year-old Marlon Casanova after Casanova tried to force him and his girlfriend from their sleeping spot in Denver’s LoDo neighborhood early Monday. The 53-year-old acknowledged using a racial epithet against Casanova, whom he said charged him.

But a half dozen friends told The Denver Post that Casanova was walking to his nearby apartment when he was stabbed. They say he was a soft-spoken person who never raised his voice at anyone and worked six or seven days a week at two upscale restaurants.

Friend Conner Gooding called Casanova “one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met.”

Information from: The Denver Post,

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