Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Marine Murder Anti-Gay Hate Crime, Prosecutor Says

LCpl Philip Bushong, 23, mistakenly assumed to be gay, stabbed to death for hugging a friend.

Washington, D.C. – Yelling anti-gay slurs, a U.S. Marine stabbed another Marine to death after seeing him embrace his male friend outside a popular Barracks Row pub in the nation’s capital.  The Washington Post reports that Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Liebman confirmed that his office is proceeding with anti-gay hate crime charges against Michael Poth, 20, who stabbed Lance Corporal Philip M. Bushong, 23, on April 21. “This was a hate crime,” Liebman said. “The victim and his friend were embracing outside.”  The Post goes on to say that a DC Metro Police homicide detective reported that the crime took place because Poth believed the two men hugging were both gay.  In fact, while his friend is out and gay, Bushong was heterosexual.

The story confirms what hate crimes activists have seen time and again in fatalities like this: even the assumption that a person is gay or lesbian can be deadly.

Video surveillance of the area shows Bushong lifting his shirt after the attack with a startled look on his face, and then collapsing to the pavement.  His assailant had stabbed him once in the chest with a pocket knife. When Poth heard that Bushong had been transported to a hospital to deal with the stab wound, he was heard shouting, “Good!  I hope he dies!”  Prior to the attack, Poth was heard threatening the two men he saw socializing outside the pub, “I’m going to stab someone and cut their lungs out.” Poth, who had already received a “less-than-honorable discharge” from the Marines according to court testimony, had been under investigation by the Marine Corps since last November for altercations with other Marines, and for drug offenses.

Poth has been charged with second degree murder.  His attorney, who claims his client was defending himself from Bushong, unsuccessfully attempted to get the charge lowered to manslaughter. In the altercation, Bushong was heard calling Poth a “boot,” which in Marine slang suggests that Poth was a substandard soldier.

May 23, 2012 Posted by | Anglo Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, gay men, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, hate speech, Heterosexism and homophobia, LGBTQ, Mistaken as LGBT, Slurs and epithets, stabbings, U.S. Marines, Washington, D.C. | , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Marine Murder Anti-Gay Hate Crime, Prosecutor Says

   

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