Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Auburn, WA: Man charged with second-degree murder in stabbing death of Auburn man

The King County Prosecutor filed a charge of second-degree murder against a Seattle man Thursday afternoon, accusing him of stabbing another man to death in Auburn during the early morning hours of July 2.

Marcus Frounfelter, 24, will be arraigned at 9 a.m. July 19 in courtroom GA at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent for allegedly killing Roger Roberts, 23.

Frounfelter is in jail at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center on $1 million bail.

According to the Auburn police affidavit of probable cause, which forms the basis of the single charge, Roberts had intervened to break up a fight between a man and woman and was preparing to return to a friend's house across the street when Frounfelter, who had not been involved in the fight, stabbed the unarmed Roberts in the chest. The King County Medical Examiner reported Roberts died of a single stab wound to the heart.

Frounfelter later told police that he had come outside because he had seen his youngest child in the street among the fighting adults. According to witnesses cited in the affidavit, however, none of Frounfelter's children were outside at that time.

According to the affidavit, the series of events that led to Roberts death started with a verbal argument between Frounfelter's aunt and her live-in boyfriend in their home at 909 6th St. SE then became violent and spilled into the front yard and onto the street in front of the house. Frounfelter was in the house at the time.

Friends in a house across the street, including Roberts, were enjoying a get together when they heard the noise and ran out to break up the fight. According to court records, a man who lives in that house held the male side of the fighting couple down to make sure he wouldn't hit anybody, while another man restrained the woman and one of her female acquaintances.

According to the affidavit, witnesses told police that the fighters had calmed down and the neighbors were walking home when Frounfelter emerged from the house. Just as the neighbor across the street reached his front yard, he turned back to urge his friends, including Roberts, to return with him, but instead saw Roberts stumbling into the street. According to the affidavit, he thought at first that Roberts was having a heart attack, which would have been consistent with previous medical problems, but he soon realized that Roberts had been stabbed. The man told police that he tried to stop the bleeding. He said he hadn't seen the actual stabbing.

According to the affidavit, a female witness told police that after the fight was broken up she turned and saw Roberts lying in the street. When she realized he'd been stabbed, she turned to Frounfelter, whom she knew carried a knife.

According to the affidavit, the woman approached Frounfelter "who had wide eyes, and asked him, 'what did you do?' [She] stated that Frounfelter did not respond but looked down at his hands."

According to the affidavit, the woman noticed then that a knife was still open in Frounfelter's left hand and that there was blood on his hands. She again asked him what he had done, but getting no response and believing him to be in shock, she slapped him in the face.

Within minutes of receiving the 911 call, police caught up with Frounfelter in a car with several occupants inside several blocks away, a bloody folding knife still in his pocket, according to the affidavit. Asked if he had stabbed anybody, according to the affidavit, Frounfelter allegedly admitted to police that he had "but didn't know who he stabbed." According to the affidavit, he admitted also that the knife on his person was the one he had used to stab his victim.

According to the affidavit, Frounfelter allegedly admitted to detectives that he had had about five to six beers and a couple of hits of marijuana before the fight. He told detectives that he suffers from brain trauma, has undergone some 19 surgeries to correct the problem and has suffered a series of strokes.

In their request for the high bail, prosecutors noted that "Mr. Frounfelter is no stranger to knives or stabbings," having stabbed a man in the chest in 2009. In that case, he pleaded guilty to third-degree assault. In 2002, while he was still a juvenile, prosecutors continued, Frounfelter pleaded guilty to third-degree assault for threatening a man with a knife. At the time of the fatal stabbing, Frounfelter was on probation for a reckless driving conviction.

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