A 23-year-old Washington-based soldier accused of fatally stabbing a fellow soldier in the heart after a verbal confrontation has been charged with first-degree murder and a former Sulphur Springs resident is being held along with another soldier on charges related to the stabbing.
Sulphur Springs native Cedarium Johnson, 21, and fellow soldier Ajoni Ronnion-Bareford Hill, 21, of Islesboro, Maine, are facing charges of rendering criminal assistance in connection with the disposal of a murder weapon.
Prosecutors charged Jeremiah Hill on Tuesday, saying he approached Spc. Tevin Geike from behind and attacked him early Saturday, just as a confrontation between two groups in Lakewood, Wash., was calming down.
All three men pleaded not guilty in Pierce County Superior Court. Hill was held on $2 million bail. Deputy Prosecutor Phil Sorensen told the court that Hill's "only ties with the community are through the military."
The suspects and victim in the case were all soldiers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Cedarium Johnson lists Tyler as his home, but he is formerly from Sulphur Springs. A spokesman for Sulphur Springs Independent School District confirmed Johnson graduated from Sulphur Springs High School in 2010. As a junior at SSHS, Johnson was listed on the A Honor Roll. He also played basketball at SSHS.
Johnson's attorney asked that his client be released and contained within the base. Johnson's mother, Rona Taylor, flew from Texas to attend the hearing, according to The News Tribune. She bowed her head and clutched a banister while Court Commissioner Meagan Foley considered the request to release him, and said "thank you" when Foley agreed.
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