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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

Monday, December 2, 2013

District Man Found Guilty Of Manslaughter In Stabbing Death Of Fellow Marine-Attack Took Place In April 2012 In Southwest Washington-

     WASHINGTON – Michael Poth, 22, of Washington, D.C., was found guilty by a jury today of manslaughter while armed in the fatal stabbing of a fellow U.S. Marine Corps enlistee, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.

     Poth was found guilty following a trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The Honorable Russell F. Canan scheduled sentencing for Feb. 7, 2014. The charge carries a statutory maximum of 60 years in prison.

     According to the government’s evidence, Poth and the victim, Philip Bushong, 24, were active duty U.S. Marine Corps enlistees.  At the time of the incident, the defendant was a private first class and was assigned to the Marine Barracks Washington, while the victim, a lance corporal, was a few days away from receiving an honorable discharge and was in the District of Columbia visiting friends. The men did not know one another. In the early morning hours of April 21, 2012, both were in the area near the 700 block of Eighth Street SE, near the Marine Barracks. Multiple bars and restaurants are in the area.

     Poth walked by Lance Cpl. Bushong, who was with a group of friends. Shortly after he passed by the group, Lance Cpl. Bushong yelled something at the defendant.  Poth took offense, took out a small pocket knife from his pocket, and waved it in the air toward Lance Cpl. Bushong and his group of friends.  Poth also muttered out loud that he was going to “cut someone’s (expletive) lungs out.”

     About 10 minutes later, Poth, after circling the block, aggressively walked toward Lance Cpl. Bushong, who was still in the area talking to a friend.  Poth walked up to Lance Cpl. Bushong, uttered an anti-gay slur, and then kept walking. Lance Cpl. Bushong proceeded to follow Poth, and the two began to argue.  As Lance Cpl. Bushong drew back his fist to punch Poth, Poth stated, “I’m going to stab you.” He then drew his knife and stabbed Lance Cpl. Bushong once in chest. Lance Cpl. Bushong died about two hours later.

     “Today a District of Columbia jury held Michael Poth accountable for stabbing a fellow Marine to death on a public street near their barracks,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “Their guilty verdict makes clear that our community will not tolerate the deadly violence that so often arises from petty disputes.  We hope that this decision brings some measure of comfort to the family and friends of the young Marine killed that night.”

     In announcing the verdict, U.S. Attorney Machen commended the work of those who investigated the case from the Metropolitan Police Department and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and thanked the U.S. Marine Corps for their cooperation. He also expressed appreciation for the work of the District of Columbia Department of Forensic Sciences and the District of Columbia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. In addition, he acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialists Sandra Lane and Alesha Matthews; Victim/Witness Advocate Tamara Ince; David Foster, Katina Adams-Washington, and La June Thames, all of the Victim Witness Assistance Unit, and Litigation Technology Specialists Will Henderson and Paul Howell. Finally, he praised Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Liebman, who prosecuted the case.


Updated February 19, 2015