Suspects in soldier's deadly stabbing to appear in court

LAKEWOOD, Wash. - Three soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord will make initial court appearances Tuesday in connection with the weekend murder of 20-year-old Army specialist Tevin Geike.

Lakewood police told KOMO Newsradio that after getting some solid information on where the murder weapon was dumped, they set out Monday to find it in the woods.

"Sometimes, luck is on the side of law enforcement." Lt. Chris Lawler explained. "It didn't take us long, but we found it and it still had some blood on it."

Lawler said he believes it was "like a folding style serrated knife."

Lakewood police say Geike was walking with his friends early Saturday when a car drove by and someone inside shouted a racial comment toward the white soldiers. Authorities said the soldiers shouted something back, and a group of five black men from the car stopped and surrounded the soldiers.

Police said the men from the car began to leave but one of the suspects appeared to bump into Geike as he walked past.

Geike's friends say they had no idea the men who approached them were in the military and thought everything was fine. One of them gave Tevin a bear hug, the three men drove off and then suddenly Tevin was bleeding and dying.

Three of the five men in the car were arrested Sunday after police received a tip about their alleged involvement.

Lawler told KOMO the accused killer, 23-year-old Jeremiah Hill, isn't talking, so police still have no idea why a brief exchange between soldiers ended up being a murder.

"This kid (Geike) was 20 years old and had his whole life ahead of him and he's killed for absolutely no reason any of us can understand," Lawler said.

Hill is the only one of the three men in custody expected to face a murder charge.

The other two suspects are Cedarium Johnson, 21, and Ajoni Runnion-Bareford, 21. Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist says they will face charges for allegedly helping Hill after the murder.

Based on information developed during the investigation, Lawler said it does not appear the stabbing was a hate crime.

The two groups of soldiers did not know each other, police said.