At the hearing, sides describe the Navy’s stabbing death as ‘accident’ and ‘obstruction of justice’

Marine Pfc. Ethan Andrew Barclay-Weberpal, 18, was fatally stabbed by another Marine on Jan. 16, 2018.


The legal defense team for a U.S. Marine accused of fatal stabbing at Camp Pendleton in California, argued Thursday that the death was a tragic accident that took place while the two friends were playing with a knife.

The prosecution countered that the defendant went out to hide the bloody knife in place of to help the bleeding victim.

Pfc. Raymond W. Begay, 20, faces charges of murder and obstruction of justice in the Jan. 16 the death of 18-year-old Pfc. Ethan Barclay-Weberpal.

Barclay-Weberpal, from Wisconsin, died after being stabbed while sitting in formation with a platoon of Marines at the School of Infantry in Camp Pendleton, about 40 miles north of San Diego.

Defense attorneys said Begay should be charged with involuntary manslaughter, not of murder.

Different troops testified for the defense Thursday that the death was an accident, the Orange County Register reported. Begay immediately admitted to the training of instructors, which he put Barclay-Weberpal, witnesses said.

“This was just a stupid kids do stupid things,” defense witness Pfc. Rhett Glubka said. “I don’t think he (Begay) thought about what would have happened.”

“This was just a stupid kids do stupid things. I don’t think he (Begay) thought about what would have happened.”

– Pfc. Rhett Glubka, defense witness

Lance Cpl. Gavin Shorter testified that the other Marines saw the blood from Barclay-Weberpal the chest and tried to pull on his shirt to cover up.

“We didn’t think it was fatal and we don’t want to be in trouble,” Shorter said. “After we out of the formation, we were planning to help him.”

Shorter testified that Begay was playing with a knife before he stabbed Barclay-Weberpal.

Maj. Tanzania Jaysura, lead trial prosecutor, said that they had testimony from at least three other Marines who said Begay is known to have threatened to stab other Marines, and that some had told him to stop, because they are uncomfortable.

They said that they also had testimony showing Begay left the bleacher area after the stabbing to wash with the blood of his knife.

“The knife was not the kind of knife, and opens at the front and the witnesses will say they saw him playing with the knife before the stabbing and that words were exchanged and that he intentionally put the knife in the Barclay-Weberpal the left chest, in his heart,” Jaysura said.

She said that the left ventricle of his heart was pierced with only a “deep” stab wound.

“Instead of getting help, he went to take the knife away — that is where we believe we have obstruction of justice,” she said.

“Instead of getting help, he went to take the knife away — that is where we believe we have obstruction of justice.”

– Maj. Tanzania Jaysura, lead trial prosecutor

The family of Barclay-Weberpal, of Janesville, Wis., listened via a conference call. His father told the Register after the hearing that he was pleased that the audience could hear that his son’s death was not the result of a fight.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Amy’s Place is a news editor and reporter for Fox News.

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