Before Arrest, Marine Claimed Stabbing of Brother-in-Arms was Self-Defense

Call me boots and the fight started.”
“Marines control me and my brain.”
“You start with me and I’m going to defend myself.”
“He was talking s*** so I stabbed him.”
“He punched me in my face, so I stabbed him.”
“Good, I hope he dies.”
“I stabbed him because he punched me in the head. There were two of them. I was defending myself.”

These were among the statements attributed to U.S. Marine Michael Poth Monday at his presentment on a charge of second-degree murder while armed.

Poth, 20, is suspected of fatally stabbing fellow Marine Philip Bushong early on Saturday morning on Barracks Row in Southeast DC.

Charging documents in the case do not describe what argument or altercation may have preceded Bushong’s death; police officials on Saturday said Poth may have said a “homophobic slur” before Bushong was stabbed.

Instead, the documents describe how three people, at least one of them an active duty Marine, chased down and detained Poth after seeing Bushong stabbed.

The on-duty Marine told police that he saw Poth and Bushong, who was accompanied by another person, walking towards each other on 8th Street Southeast. The three exchanged words, the Marine said, then Bushong turned to follow Poth. Poth threatened, “I’m going to stab you.” then Poth reversed his route, followed the others, and threatened: “I’m going to stab you.”

Bushong reached toward Poth and grabbed his shoulder, the Marine said, then Bushong “[motioned] with his other hand as if he were going to throw a punch.”

Then Poth stabbed Bushong, the Marine said, according to the charging documents.

Detectives noted that Poth did not appear injured and did not request medical treatment.

Poth was arrested Saturday and presented with the murder charge at DC Superior Court late Monday afternoon. He was ordered held on the charge. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 15.

Read the charging documents below.

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