The father of a Marine and former Enfield resident who was killed by another Marine inWashington, D.C., on Saturday said the slaying was "pointless and too horryfing to imagine."
Philip Bushong, 23, had been a student at
Philip's father, Michael Bushong, in a statement released Tuesday through the Marine Corps, said he trusted that the justice system would prosecute "the perpetrator of this crime to the full extent of the law."
Michael Bushong, who lives in
Initial reports noted that a homophobic slur had been uttered by Poth during the incident, but there was no mention of it in court documents obtained Tuesday. The Metropolitan Police Department also downplayed the slur, saying that it appears to have been an insult used in the heat of the argument.
Poth, a private stationed at the Marine Barracks, has been charged with second-degree murder while armed. He was arraigned Monday and ordered held without bond. His next court date is scheduled for May 15.
Poth told police that he stabbed Philip Bushong, a Lance Corporal who was on leave from Camp LeJeune, N.C., in self-defense.
"I stabbed him because he punched me in the head," told detectives. "There were two of them. I was defending myself."
Michael Bushong said his son had returned from a deployment to the Mediterranean in February and was scheduled to receive his honorable discharge from the Marines Thursday .
He said his son was planning to move back to Washington, where he had been stationed with the Marine Color Guard for two years, and was poised to enroll in
"With Philip stateside, I had let my guard down assuming he was out of harm's way," Michael Bushong said, adding that his friends and family were relieved that he was away from the front line. "When the Marines arrived to deliver the news Saturday morning it could not have been more shocking and paralyzing."
Michael Bushong thanked the Marine Corps for its support in dealing with his son's death and credited the Corps with providing Philip Bushong with character-building experienced that helped him grow into a respectful, strong, focused, wise and thoughtful man.
"He was prepared for the rest of his life…optimistic, excited and desiring to make a difference," Michael Bushong said.
Guards at the Marine Barracks witnessed the attack and held Poth for police.
One Marine told police that he saw Poth exchange words with Bushong as their paths crossed on 8th Street and heard Poth say "I'm going to stab you," before Bushong reached toward him and grabbed his shoulder. The witness said he saw Bushong motion with his other hand as if he was going to throw a punch before Poth thrust the knife toward his upper body.
According to court documents, detectives could not find any wounds or abrasions in the area of Poth's head, where Poth claimed Bushong had struck him.
Another witness told police that they had observed a man matching Poth's description around 1:30 or 2 a.m. walking in the area of 8th Street. The witness told police that the man remarked "I'm going to stab somebody, or cut their lungs out: they are [expletive] with the wrong person."