Michael Joseph Poth, a Marine, held in fatal stabbing of another Marine, Philip Bushong, in SE
Updated: April 23, 2012 - 09:09 pm
Michael Poth, a U.S. Marine accused in the fatal stabbing of another Marine, was formally charged with second degree murder Monday.
Poth, who is 20, stood quietly as the charge against him was read aloud in D.C. Superior Court.
The hearing comes two days after a stabbing attack along Barracks Row around 2:40 a.m. Saturday, that left 23-year old Marine Philip Buchong, gravely wounded.
He died about an hour later.
"It's so sad, it's a tragedy," says Deborah Shore, who's lived in the neighborhood for three decades.
"It's terrible feeling that we live right on this street, and there couldn't have been some way to stop this kind of horrible death."
A pre-hearing police report says the two marines exchanged words as their paths crossed.
It says Bushong turned to follow Poth.
A witness then heard Poth say "I'm going to stab you," then saw Bushong grab Poth's shoulder. The witness says Poth then stabbed Bushong with what police later described as a pocketknife.
"Sad. Two families... now destroyed," says Carolyn Eaves, who works a block from the stabbing scene. "We have to learn not to call people names, you know. Got to be on our Ps and Qs at the time. Sad."
On Monday, ABC7 News found surveillance footage showing the immediate aftermath of the attack. In one section, Marine Guards appear to be pursuing persons of interest.
Police confirm after the attack, Marine guards grabbed Poth as he tried to run from the scene.
After he was detained, detectives quoted Poth as saying "...he punched me in my face, so I stabbed him..."
The documents also say Poth, hearing a radio transmission about Bushong being transported to the hospital, said "...good, I hope he dies."
"Just young lives that were taken, snuffed at this point. It is unfortunate," says Sylvia Smith, a frequent shopper in the area.
But David Benowitz, Poth's attorney says "We certainly think there's elements of self defense here."
"Based on the government's own evidence, the person who died was following Mr. Poth."
Benowitz says he doesn't know why Poth was being followed.
Prosecutors, in arguing Poth should be denied bail, noted the Marine Corps has been trying to separate him from the service.
They cited military officials saying the 20-year old had been belligerent with other marines, and had been caught smoking 'Spice', a synthetic marijuana banned in the Marine Corps.
The judge denied bond, and ordered Poth be held until a hearing May 15th.
For many, an argument between two U.S. Marines, that escalated into a fatal stabbing, is troubling.
"They're a member of the community that creates a kind of order on the street," says Shore. "This is really a terrible thing to have happen, for them and for us."