$2 million bail set in Summerville soldier's stabbing case
SEATTLE (AP/KIRO/WCSC) - A $2 million bail has been set for a soldier accused of fatally stabbing a fellow serviceman from Summerville near a large Army base in Washington state.
Prosecutors charged Jeremiah Hill, 23, with first-degree murder, saying he approached 20-year-old Spc. Tevin Geike and attacked him just as a verbal confrontation between two groups was calming down. The bail was set at a Tuesday afternoon court hearing.
Authorities also charged Cedarium Johnson, 21, and Ajoni Runnion-Bareford, 21, with rendering criminal assistance, saying they helped dispose of the murder weapon. Bail for Runnion-Bareford was set at $250,000. Johnson was released, ordered to be contained at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
All three men pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors said in charging documents Tuesday that an autopsy determined that Geike suffered a deep stab wound to his chest that cut through a rib and plunged through his heart.
The suspects and victim in the case were all soldiers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The soldiers charged in the case are scheduled to make their first court appearance Tuesday in Pierce County Superior Court.
Geike's friends said the accused killer is a traitor who betrayed his country.
"I want to be able to look him in the eye and ask him,'Why, why did you do this?'" said Matthew Barnes who was with Geike when he was murdered. "He should be shot for betraying his country and his comrades.
"He betrayed his nation. Either life in prison, which I don't think would cut it. Or, death by firing squad," said Brian Johnson who was also at the scene of the stabbing."Those are two things I believe a traitor deserves."
Police said Monday night that searchers found the knife they believe was used in Saturday's stabbing. It was found in a wooded area of Tillicum, about 3 miles from Lakewood - communities surrounding Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Lakewood police say Geike was walking with two other soldiers when words were exchanged with someone in a car. The car stopped and its occupants confronted the three, and Geike was fatally stabbed.
A prosecutor says there may have been some "trash talk" during the confrontation, but there's no indication race played a role.
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