Marine faces murder charge following fatal School of Infantry stabbing

A Marine faces charges of murder and obstruction of justice at a March 5 court-martial following a Camp Pendleton, California, stabbing incident that left one Marine dead, according to Corps officials.

“The charges are the result of an investigation into an incident resulting in the death of a Marine at the School of Infantry West,” Capt. Joshua Pena, a spokesman for the Corps’ Virginia-based Training and Education Command, said in a statement to Marine Corps Times.

“The PFC is accused of violating Uniform Code of Military Justice Articles 118 (murder) and 134 (obstructing justice),” Pena said. “These charges are merely accusations, and the Marine is presumed innocent until proven guilty.”

Pfc. Ethan A. Barclay-Weberpal, 18, died after a stabbing incident Jan. 16 at the School of Infantry-West. He was assigned to Lima Company, Headquarters and Services Battalion at SOI-West, and had just entered the Corps in July.

Since the incident, an unidentified Marine has been held in confinement at Camp Pendleton. His identity will only be released after the Article 32 hearing.

The hearing will provide recommendations on the charges to the convening authority, Lt. Col. Dennis Hager, Headquarters and Support Battalion at School of Infantry West, according to Pena.

“Following the Article 32 hearing, [the convening authority] will make a decision as to whether or not to refer the charges against the Marine, taking into account recommendations from the preliminary hearing officer,” Pena told the Mercury News. “No final decision has been made on these charges without the approval of the convening authority.”

First responders found Barclay-Weberpal dead at the scene when reacting to reports of an injured person around 7:45 a.m. on Jan. 16.

His body was eventually returned home to his family in Janesville, Wisconsin, and buried with full military honors on Jan. 29.

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