Men charged in murder of JBLM soldier

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TACOMA, Wash. - A man has been charged with first-degree murder and two others with rendering criminal assistance in the fatal stabbing of a Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier.

 The three men charged are also soldiers at JBLM.

 Police said Jeremiah Hill is responsible for stabbing Tevin Geike on a Lakewood street Saturday.

 Geike died at the scene from a stab wound to the heart.

 According to probable cause documents, an altercation began between Geike and his two friends, who are also soldiers, and a group of five men in a car driven by Ajoni Runnion-Bareford.

 Documents said four of the men got out of the car, and one man who stayed behind was directed to get behind the wheel.

  When all the men in the altercation learned they were soldiers, the men from the sedan backed away and it appeared the incident was over.

 But one of the men, later identified as Hill, grabbed Geike and threw him to the ground, police said. Then Hill and the other men fled back to the vehicle and drove away.

 Witnesses said though Geike had knives attached to his belt, he made no attempt to use them and was walking away when he was jumped.

 According to probable cause documents, when Hill got into the car he was covered with blood and told others in the car he had cut the victim. 

 Documents said another man in the car, Cedarium Johnson, told the driver  to head to Tillicum where he was told to slow down.  Johnson then told Runnion-Bareford to throw the knife out, police said.

 According to investigators, when Runnion-Bareford was contacted by Lakewood police, he eventually told them the car was his and that he took the knife from Hill and threw it into the brush.  He also told investigators that after returning to post, he tried to clean up blood from the car after parking it several blocks from the barracks to conceal it, documents said. Once he learned Hill had been arrested, he went back to clean the car again, this time using bleach, police said.

 Police said they found bloody clothing during a search of Johnson’s and Hill’s rooms at the JBLM barracks.

 Investigators said when they tried to interview Hill, who declined to make a statement, he had an obvious wound on his hand.

 It was that wound that initially led police to Hill.

 Detectives said that during the investigation, police received information from an Army medic who said Hill requested aid for a significant cut to his hand he received over the weekend. 

 Probable cause documents said Hill told the medic he had cut his hand when he “stabbed someone to death.”

At the arraignment Tuesday afternoon, Hill was ordered to be held on $2 million bail and  Runnion-Bareford received a bail of $250,000, but Johnson will later be released to his JBLM unit, where he will be restricted.

 According to KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Chris Legeros, Johnson had an attorney who argued that his client did not participate in the crime.  Like Runnion-Bareford, Johnson is charged with rendering criminal assistance.

 According to detectives, the other two men who were in the car the night of the stabbing were cooperative, appear to have been witnesses to, rather than participants in, the murder and did not dispose of evidence.  They were not arrested.