The Erie man charged with killing a woman who police said was trying to protect her friend now faces trial after a preliminary hearing Wednesday morning.

Kevin Hicks-Franklin, 22, is charged with first-degree murder in connection to the stabbing death of Starleisha Smith, 20.

It happened at a home along E. 11 St. in May.

Investigators said Smith had gone there to help her friend who had been living with the suspect.

She apparently wanted to retrieve some of her friend's belongings when police said a fight broke out, and Hicks-Franklin stabbed the victim twice.

Investigators recovered a bloody knife at the scene and arrested Hicks-Franklin about three hours later.

The victim's sister told Erie News Now her family is now relying on their faith as this case plays out in court.

"I wasn't expecting nothing less from him," said Tyshia Smith, the victim's sister. "I got God on my side, and my family. We'll pray; we got a lot of hope and faith to know that it's a long road ahead of us, but we're going to get past it the best way we know how to, and that's just keeping God in our hearts and on our side."

Hicks-Franklin is being held in the Erie County Prison without bond.