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Gay 79 y.o. Marine dies 2 weeks after discharge finally changed to “honorable”

A sad, yet uplifting, story about Hal Faulkner, a 79 year old gay Marine who found justice after nearly 60 years.

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16
Jan
2014

Be in the know about Barracks Row

Barracks Row, real estate, gay news, Washington Blade

As one of D.C.’s oldest and most charming areas, Barracks Row has become an increasingly popular spot for new restaurants and boutiques to set up shop. (Photo by Peter Fitzgerald)

By ALISON McCUBBIN

“Barracks Row,” “8th Street,” “That Place Where All The Marines Hang Out” — call it whatever you want, just don’t call it boring. Barracks Row, named after the beautiful Marine Barracks that sits on the street among restaurants and shops, is the oldest commercial district in the city. However, it’s only been a couple years now that this area has been considered a “hot spot” for restaurants and local businesses within the city.

Many people that have ventured over to Barracks Row have come for one of Ted’s Bulletin’s famous pop-tarts and stayed for the adult milkshakes. This dangerously delicious combination, along with a classic American menu, won over so many loyal customers that a new location just recently opened up on the 14th Street corridor. Due to its popularity among Capitol Hill dwellers and non-Hill residents alike, you’re almost always guaranteed a bit of a wait for a table. So if you aren’t keen on waiting, Barracks Row offers lots of other dining options and all within a couple blocks.

If you’re feeling lucky, you can walk across the street to Barrack’s Row’s popular Belgian restaurant, Belga Cafe. It’s about as popular as Ted’s Bulletin, but Belga will take reservations, which is highly recommended. With almost a dozen different kinds of waffles, it’s a consistent crowd pleaser that will make you wish someone had told you sooner that stuffing a waffle with crabmeat is actually quite amazing (as is ordering “A Bucket of Bacon”).

But if you’re wanting to try out one of the newer spots on 8th Street, Roses Luxury should absolutely top that list. It’s a restaurant unlike any in the area, with a focus on simple food done to perfection, impeccable service and a romantic ambiance perfect for a date night. But as the snow melts and the coats come off, you might want to enjoy the weather a bit as you dine. And there’s no better place to do this than Pacifico Cantina. Head on up to the rooftop and share a bucket of Coronas as you enjoy the weather, or you can order one of their amazing fish tacos paired with a perfect margarita. Just don’t forget to check out the amazing interior of the bottom floor as you walk out — it definitely deserves a look.

And for those that need to satisfy their sweet tooth, look no further than The Sweet Lobby. As the winner of Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, this boutique sweets shop not only has mind-blowing cupcakes, but they also have macaroons and Madeleines that are absolutely something to write home about.

And for those that would rather cook their five-star meal themselves, there is Hill’s Kitchen. It’s quite unassuming on the outside, but on the inside it’s a dream world for any chef of any level. You name the cooking tool, and they have it – and probably in every color. This boutique even has cookie cutters in the shape of every state (read: easy gift ideas). And for those who are dying to learn the proper way to brûlée some crème, Hill’s Kitchen provides all sorts of cooking classes. And while you’re in the learning mood, you might as well head down the street to DCanter, the area’s new, very chic, wine boutique. It has a great assortment of wines and beers, but also offers classes on clever topics varying from ‘The Grape American Road Trip’ to ‘The Dark Side of Beer’. There are also weekend tastings for those who are looking to switch things up this Saturday.

But with all this bacon and booze consumption, it’s probably a good idea to hit the gym. Look no further than Biker Barre, a boutique fitness studio specializing in spin and barre. This studio has a loyal clientele from all over the DMV that prefers to sweat to a fun beat. Whether you’re sprinting on a bike or “pulsing and tucking” at the barre, Biker Barre will leave you exhausted and sore, but proud you survived it. And if you happen to make it to one of the weekend classes, your hard work is often rewarded with a mimosa before you leave.

But we can’t talk about Barracks Row without mentioning the actual Marine Barracks. Aside from being a beautiful building swarming with handsome marines, it’s also the setting for the Marine Barracks Parade each summer. Every Friday from May to August, The Evening Parade is held at 8:45 p.m. and features a beautiful concert put on by the United States Marine Band. Ticket reservations can be made online, and done so quickly, as it’s a popular event that should not be missed.

As one of D.C.’s oldest and most charming areas, Barracks Row has become an increasingly popular spot for new restaurants and boutiques to set up shop. And as the spring approaches and temperatures start to rise, why not take the opportunity to go check them out (and maybe a few Marines while you’re at it).

Alison McCubbin is a sales associate with the Bediz Group, LLC at Coldwell Banker Dupont. Reach her at 202-642-9445 or alison@bediz.com.

20
Feb
2014

Jury deliberating Marine murder case

Marine Barracks, gay news, Washington Blade

Lance Corp. Phillip Bushong was stabbed in the upper chest with a pocketknife on 8th Street, S.E., across from the Marine Barracks. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

A D.C. Superior Court jury completed its third day of deliberations on Tuesday without reaching a verdict over whether a 21-year-old former U.S. Marine should be found guilty of second-degree murder while armed for stabbing a fellow Marine to death after allegedly shouting an anti-gay slur during an April 2012 altercation.

Judge Russell Canan gave jurors Wednesday and Friday off for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and instructed them to return Monday, Dec. 2, to resume their deliberations.

Pfc. Michael Poth, who has since been discharged from the Marines, has been held in jail since the time D.C. police arrested him on April 21, 2012, minutes after witnesses said he stabbed Lance Corp. Phillip Bushong, 23, in the upper chest with a pocketknife on 8th Street, S.E., across the street from the Marine Barracks.

Bushong was pronounced dead less than an hour later after being taken to a hospital. An autopsy showed he died of a single knife wound that punctured his heart.

Gay congressional staff member Nishith Pandya, a friend of Bushong’s who emerged as a lead prosecution witness, testified that Poth called him and Bushong a “faggot” while the two stood with others on the sidewalk outside Mollie Malone’s restaurant and bar as Poth walked by.

Pandya, who works for U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), told the jury he’s gay and that he and Bushong, who was straight, were platonic friends.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Liebman, the lead prosecutor in the case, said Poth hurled the anti-gay slur with the intent of provoking Bushong into a confrontation to give Poth an excuse to stab Bushong. Liebman cited testimony by witnesses that Poth became angry over a remark that Bushong made to Poth about an hour earlier when the two Marines first crossed paths on 8th Street.

A police report says Poth told D.C. police homicide detectives after the stabbing that Bushong called him a “boot,” a slang term used for a Marine just out of boot camp.

“Call me boots and the fight started,” the police report quoted Poth as saying. “He was talking shit so I stabbed him…I stabbed him because he punched me in the head,” the report quoted him as saying.

Pandya testified that Bushong never hit Poth.

In his closing argument, Liebman pointed to a civilian witness who testified that she saw someone fitting Poth’s description walking along 8th Street saying to himself he was going to stab somebody. Liebman cited testimony by a police detective that Poth told police at the time of his arrest, upon learning that Bushong was being taken to a hospital, “Good, I hope he dies.”

The prosecutor said other witnesses, including Marine guards who were watching Poth walk past them on 8th Street and nearby streets prior to the stabbing, made it clear that Poth wanted to confront Bushong again and was walking up and down the street looking for him.

“You don’t get to claim self-defense when you proclaim intent to stab someone before you come into contact with them,” Liebman told the jury. “The law doesn’t allow you to use deadly force before you have contact” in a self-defense claim, Leibman said.

Poth’s attorney, Bernard Grimm, told the jury Poth acted in self-defense and that the stabbing came after Bushong and Pandya walked toward Poth at the time of the verbal altercation outside Mollie Malone’s. Grimm said the jury should be skeptical about Pandya’s claim that Poth made an anti-gay slur.

Grimm pointed out repeatedly that Poth, who weighs 140 pounds and is five-feet-seven inches tall, was far smaller than Bushong, who was over 6 feet tall and Pandya, who weighs more than 200 pounds.

He said one of several videos obtained from security cameras deployed by businesses along 8th Street suggested that Poth had been on the ground and stood up just before the stabbing. This corroborated Poth’s claim that Bushong punched him in the head and knocked him down and that Poth stabbed Bushong in self-defense, Grimm said.

Grimm pointed to testimony by a Marine guard who witnessed part of the altercation that Bushong at one point changed directions and followed Poth after the two crossed paths on the sidewalk while walking on 8th Street.

The Marine testified that Bushong reached toward Poth and put one hand on Poth’s shoulder and motioned with his other hand as if he was about to throw a punch. It was at that time that Poth appears to have stabbed Bushong, the Marine said.

Leibman and Grimm played video footage from security cameras of several of the businesses along the street, but none of the video footage captured the stabbing.

Grimm called Pandya’s testimony unreliable, saying that Pandya told police the person who stabbed Bushong was wearing khaki colored short pants when it was clear to all other witnesses that he was wearing blue jeans. He said Pandya, knowing that the stabbing took place after Bushong followed Poth and acted as the aggressor, didn’t want police to talk to Poth out of fear that it would become clear that his friend was the instigator of the fight that broke out between Bushong and Poth.

“He was in it up to his ears,” Grimm said. “He egged Bushong on.”

Grimm also reminded the jury that witnesses said Bushong was asked to leave one of the bars on 8th Street on the night of the incident because he was intoxicated and acting in a boisterous and disruptive manor.

“Someone said don’t let him get near anyone on the street,” Grimm told the jury, saying someone in the bar feared Bushong would hurt someone.

Liebman told the jury that although Pandya got the clothing description of Poth wrong, his testimony on what unfolded between Poth and Bushong was correct.

“Mr. Grimm wants you to believe that you can’t believe anything that Mr. Pandya said,” Liebman told the jury, including Pandya’s testimony that Poth used the word “faggot” to insult Bushong.

“Mr. Pandya is gay. Do you think he heard that right?” said Liebman. “You better believe it. He had no reason to make that up.”

Although Liebman said at a pre-trial hearing in April 2012 that prosecutors considered the stabbing to be a hate crime, the government never formally charged Poth with a hate crime. A hate crime designation enables a judge to hand down a more severe sentence than what is normally required for a particular offense.

The jury began its deliberations about 2 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 22, 10 days after the trial began on Nov. 12. Judge Russell Canan, who’s presiding over the trial, sent the jurors home for the weekend just before 5 p.m. They resumed deliberations about 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 25 and continued through Tuesday afternoon.

A conviction on second-degree murder while armed carries a possible maximum sentence of 70 years in jail. If the jury finds Poth not guilty on the second-degree murder charge it has the option of finding him guilty of a lesser offense of manslaughter.

26
Nov
2013

Gay Hill staffer testifies at Marine murder trial

Marine Barracks, gay news, Washington Blade

A Marine is charged with fatally stabbing a fellow service member outside the Marine Barracks on Capital Hill last year. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

A 29-year-old gay congressional staff member emerged as the star witness this week in a murder trial in D.C. Superior Court of a former U.S. Marine charged with stabbing a fellow Marine to death in April 2012 outside the Marine Barracks on Capitol Hill.

Police and prosecutors charged Pfc. Michael Poth, 21, with second-degree murder while armed for allegedly using a pocketknife to fatally stab Lance Corp. Phillip Bushong, 23, following an altercation on 8th Street, S.E., in which Poth called Bushong an anti-gay name.

Bernard Grimm, Poth’s defense attorney, has argued during the trial, which began on Nov. 14, that his client acted in self-defense after Bushong and Bushong’s friend, gay congressional staffer Nishith Pandya, 29, appeared ready to assault him during the altercation, according to an account by the Washington Post.

The Post reported that Pandya testified that Poth hurled an anti-gay slur at him and Bushong as Poth walked past them while Bushong and Pandya were standing on the sidewalk outside a bar on 8th Street across the street from the Marine Barracks.

Pandya told the jury he was gay and had no idea how Poth knew his sexual orientation when he made the anti-gay slur, the Post reported. Bushong’s family members have said he was not gay. Pandya testified that he and Bushong were “platonic friends,” according to the Post.

Before the trial began, a Marine Barracks spokesperson said Poth was in the process of being discharged under less than honorable circumstances prior to the stabbing incident on grounds that he initiated “verbal altercations” with other Marines and was found to be in possession of a chemical derivative of marijuana.

Other witnesses told police prior to the trial that they saw Poth acting erratically and appeared to be in a heightened state of anger as he walked along 8th Street just before the stabbing incident. A police arrest affidavit said surveillance cameras captured part of the altercation on video, which the Post said was shown to the jury.

In an unusual development, one of the jurors sent a note to Superior Court Judge Russell Canan, who is presiding over the trial, with several questions for Pandya, public records posted on the court’s website shows. It couldn’t immediately be determined if Canan agreed to call Pandya back to the witness stand to answer the juror’s questions.

The trial was expected to continue through most of this week.

Grimm, Poth’s lead defense attorney, served as one of the lead defense attorneys in the 2010 trial of three gay men charged with obstruction of justice and evidence tampering in the widely publicized murder of attorney Robert Wone inside their Dupont Circle area townhouse. A judge found the men not guilty following a non-jury trial.

20
Nov
2013

Marine murder case goes to jury

Marine Barracks, gay news, Washington Blade

A D.C. Superior Court jury is deliberating over a murder case that allegedly involved use of an anti-gay epithet. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

A D.C. Superior Court jury began deliberations on Friday over whether a 21-year-old former U.S. Marine should be found guilty of second degree murder while armed for stabbing a fellow Marine to death after allegedly shouting an anti-gay slur following an April 2012 altercation.

Pfc. Michael Poth, who has since been discharged from the Marines, has been held in jail since the time D.C. police arrested him on April 21, 2012, minutes after witnesses said he stabbed Lance Corp. Phillip Bushong, 23, in the upper chest with a pocket knife on 8th Street, S.E., across the street from the Marine Barracks.

Bushong was pronounced dead less than an hour later after being taken to a hospital. An autopsy showed he died of a single knife wound that punctured his heart.

Gay congressional staff member Nishith Pandya, a friend of Bushong’s who emerged as a lead prosecution witness, testified that Poth called him and Bushong a “faggot” while the two stood with others on the sidewalk outside Mollie Malone’s restaurant and bar as Poth walked by.

Pandya, who works for U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), told the jury he’s gay and that he and Bushong, who was straight, were platonic friends.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Liebman, the lead prosecutor in the case, said Poth hurled the anti-gay slur with the intent of provoking Bushong into a confrontation to give Poth an excuse to stab Bushong. Liebman cited testimony by witnesses that Poth became angry over a remark that Bushong made to Poth about an hour earlier when the two Marines first crossed paths on 8th Street.

A police report says Poth told D.C. police homicide detectives after the stabbing that Bushong called him a “boot,” a slang term used for a Marine just out of boot camp.

“Call me boots and the fight started,” the police report quoted Poth as saying. “He was talking shit so I stabbed him…I stabbed him because he punched me in the head,” the report quoted him as saying.

In his closing argument, Liebman pointed to a civilian witness who testified that she saw someone fitting Poth’s description walking along 8th Street saying to himself he was going to stab somebody. Liebman cited testimony by a police detective that Poth told police at the time of his arrest, upon learning that Bushong was being taken to a hospital, “Good, I hope he dies.”

The prosecutor said other witnesses, including Marine guards who were watching Poth walk past them on 8th Street and nearby streets prior to the stabbing, made it clear that Poth wanted to confront Bushong again and was walking up and down the street looking for him.

“You don’t get to claim self-defense when you proclaim intent to stab someone before you come into contact with them,” Liebman told the jury. “The law doesn’t allow you to use deadly force before you have contact” in a self-defense claim, Leibman said.

Poth’s attorney, Bernard Grimm, told the jury Poth acted in self-defense and that the stabbing came after Bushong and Pandya walked toward Poth at the time of the verbal altercation outside Mollie Malone’s. Grimm said the jury should be skeptical about Pandya’s claim that Poth made an anti-gay slur.

Grimm pointed out repeatedly that Poth, who weighs 140 pounds and is five-feet-seven inches tall, was far smaller than Bushong, who was over 6 feet tall and Pandya, who weighs more than 200 pounds.

He said one of several videos obtained from security cameras deployed by businesses along 8th Street suggested that Poth had been on the ground and stood up just before the stabbing. This corroborated Poth’s claim that Bushong punched him in the head and knocked him down and that Poth stabbed Bushong in self-defense, Grimm said.

Leibman and Grimm played video footage from security cameras of several of the businesses along the street, but none of the video footage captured the stabbing.

Grimm called Pandya’s testimony unreliable, saying that Pandya told police the person who stabbed Bushong was wearing khaki colored short pants when it was clear to all other witnesses that he was wearing blue jeans. He said Pandya, knowing that the stabbing took place after Bushong followed Poth and acted as the aggressor, didn’t want police to talk to Poth out of fear that it would become clear that his friend was the instigator of the fight that broke out between Bushong and Poth.

“He was in it up to his ears,” Grimm said. “He egged Bushong on.”

Grimm also reminded the jury that witnesses said Bushong was asked to leave one of the bars on 8th Street on the night of the incident because he was intoxicated and acting in a boisterous and disruptive manor.

“Someone said don’t let him get near anyone on the street,” Grimm told the jury, saying someone in the bar feared Bushong would hurt someone.

Liebman told the jury that although Pandya got the clothing description of Poth wrong, his testimony on what unfolded between Poth and Bushong was correct.

“Mr. Grimm wants you to believe that you can’t believe anything that Mr. Pandya said,” Liebman told the jury, including Pandya’s testimony that Poth used the word “faggot” to insult Bushong.

“Mr. Pandya is gay. Do you think he heard that right?” said Liebman. “You better believe it. He had no reason to make that up.”

The jury began its deliberations about 2 p.m. on Friday. Judge Russell Canan, who’s presiding over the trial, sent the jurors home for the weekend just before 5 p.m. They were scheduled to resume deliberations about 10 a.m. Monday.

A conviction on second-degree murder while armed carries a possible maximum sentence of 70 years in jail. If it finds Poth not guilty on the second-degree murder charge it has the option of finding him guilty of a lesser offense of manslaughter.

 

23
Nov
2013

Video: Interview with gay kiss marine

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUq2_cpHxfU

Bryan Leffew of the YouTube site Gay Family Values interviews the same-sex couple whose marine homecoming kiss made headlines last year.

10
Jan
2013

Video: ‘Favorite gay Marine,’ and his new boyfriend

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLoZTZjzhNo

A U.S. gay Marine who has gathered a massive following on YouTube after coming out on video has a new boyfriend, and wants your questions for him. We just can’t believe how sweet they both are.

13
Mar
2013