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Request for quiet led to fatal Jan. 1 stabbing

Suspect arraigned in Brighton district court

Anthony Spaulding’s ­attempt to quiet New Year’s Eve revelers in his Allston apartment set off a frenzied, hand-to-hand brawl that left Spaulding dead, the city’s first homicide victim of 2013, authorities said Wednesday.

Spaulding, a 21-year-old Harwich man who was enrolled at the New England Institute of Art in Brookline, was rushed to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center early Tuesday with at least two stab wounds to his chest. He died a short time later, officials said.

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Brian T. MacDonald, 24, one of the holiday revelers at 48 Pratt St., was arraigned on a murder charge Wednesday in Brighton District Court.

MacDonald’s attorney, Thomas Hoopes, pleaded not guilty on behalf of his client, who remained out of view in a hallway outside the courtroom.

Prosecutors said the bash had been going on for 2½ hours when Spaulding emerged from his bedroom and told MacDonald to keep it down. Witnesses told police that a fight then broke out between Spaulding and MacDonald, who was armed with a knife.

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The two tumbled downstairs and eventually outside. When a witness separated them, both men were covered in blood.

Police said surveillance video depicted a man matching MacDonald’s physical description fleeing the scene, and a trail of blood led from the crime scene to MacDonald’s residence at 445 Washington St. in ­Brighton.

“Investigators learned through multiple witness interviews that the defendant was with his girlfriend at the time, who was an invited guest . . . and shortly after the defendant’s arrival at this party with his girlfriend, he had a physical altercation inside the apartment with the victim who actually lived at that address,” Assistant Suffolk District Attorney Holly Broadbent said in court Wednesday.

“Witnesses saw both men rolling around on the ground and fighting,” she added.

It was not clear what kind of knife was used during the struggle and whether police have recovered a weapon. Witnesses told police they saw MacDonald with a knife before the fight. There was no indication that Spaulding was armed, Broadbent said.

Hoopes, the defense attorney, said his client acted in self-defense.

“At best, this is an altercation,’’ Hoopes said during the arraignment. “. . . The altercation was initiated by the victim in this case.”

Hoopes detailed injuries his client allegedly suffered in the 2:30 a.m. incident, including a gash on his hand that required stitches and a black eye. Hoopes also said his client has no criminal record.

Judge David T. Donnelly ­ordered MacDonald held on $500,000 cash bail, a much higher amount than the $10,000 bail Hoopes requested. MacDonald is scheduled to­ ­return to court Feb. 7 for a probable cause hearing.

“This case is just a terrible circumstance for everybody ­involved, for the parents of the victim and the defendant,” Hoopes said after the arraignment. When asked how his client is doing, he added, “He is as good as anybody’s child can do under the circumstances.”

Leslie Valentin, spokes­woman for the New England Institute of Art, said Spaulding had been studying audio production. She said students ­return from winter break Monday, and counselors will be available to assist them and staff members.

The killing rattled Kenneth Zeng, who lives on Pratt Street.

“This makes me feel very scared. It’s my first year in America, and when I walk out the door I see a lot of blood on the ground, right there,” said Zeng, a Chinese citizen, pointing to the ice-covered sidewalk in front of the house next door, where Spaulding collapsed.

“It was loud on that night, and in the half-year since I ­arrived here, it has been very common for that house to be noisy, enough to impact on my daily life,” the 25-year-old Boston University graduate student said.

Brian Ballou can be reached at bballou@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeBallou.

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