A grand jury has indicted ex-Marine Michael Poth, charging him with one count of second-degree murder while armed.
Poth, 20, is suspected of killing fellow Marine Phillip Bushong outside the Marine Corps Barracks in Southeast DC in April.
Charging documents in the case rely in part on the testimony of an on-duty Marine who told police that he saw Poth and Bushong, who was accompanied by another person, walking towards each other on 8th Street Southeast just before Bushong was killed. The three exchanged words, the Marine said, then Bushong turned to follow Poth. Poth threatened, “I’m going to stab you.”
At a preliminary hearing in May, prosecutors showed the court surveillance cameras video of Poth just before Bushong was killed. The videos showed a man identified as Poth waving a knife in the air and kicking over a restaurant advertisement. Evidence presented at the hearing stated that a witness told police that that night Poth used a homophobic slur to address a gay man, another witness said they heard Poth say, “I’m gonna stab somebody. I’m gonna cut their lungs out.”
Poth’s defense attorney, David Benowitz, argued that Poth was acting in self defense and that Bushong initiated a fistfight, which led to the stabbing.
Poth was served with discharge papers just before his preliminary hearing in May, though Prosecutor Michael Liebman told the court that the discharge was unrelated to the criminal charges Poth was facing. Liebman said that the discharge papers were related to separate matters related to underage drinking, use of synthetic marijuana, and talking back to officers.
Poth is scheduled to be arraigned on the second-degree murder charge next week.
The indictment is below.