TULSA, Oklahoma - A man charged with assault for slashing a man’s arm tells his side of the story.

“I did do it.  I’m not saying I didn’t cut the man, but I did it in the gesture of trying to keep him away from me,” said Craig Kessinger.

The man Kessinger cut said he needed dozens of stitches after being cut while trying to protect a woman from being assaulted.

Kessinger says he did cut the man, but it was all in self-defense.  He also says he was never assaulting his girlfriend.

Kessinger admits he was mad the night he confronted his girlfriend, after she’d locked her keys in her car and called her former boss, Chad Taylor, for help, but says he never hit her.

“When we were arguing and I kicked her purse, yes, it looked like it was bad, but it really wasn’t,” he said.

He admits after she left with the boss to get away, he followed them and confronted her again, but says it was to apologize.

“She was leaning down to hug me or kiss me and that’s when he attacked me from behind,” Kessinger said.

He says he pulled a knife and Taylor would back up then come forward, until Taylor tripped over a curb.

“In a defensive manner, I cut him,” he said.  “I didn’t stab him.  I wasn’t trying to stab him.  I cut his arm to stay down.”

He also admits he left the scene.

He says, “the only reason I ran is simply because of the way it looked.”

Taylor says he only hit Kessinger because Kessinger was assaulting the woman and that he backed up more than 50 feet and was on the ground, helpless, when he was cut.

As for Kessinger’s recent arrest for running from police, he says he didn’t know the cops were behind him.

As for his suspended drug sentences in three counties, Kessinger says he went on a meth bender after his mother died.

He’s spent many years in prison for other crimes, but says he never got a fair shake and has been compliant with his probation.

“I’m being painted in a bad light due to this Chad Taylor event,” he said.  “He’s really the monster, not me.”

Kessinger says he’d like to see the assault charge dismissed, then he’ll deal with the suspended sentence issues after that.