Ex-Marine pleads guilty to stabbing fellow Marine to death

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Javier Antonio Garzon (Onslow County Sheriff's Office)

A former Marine will spend at least 25 years in prison for the fatal stabbing of a fellow Marine Corps Air Station New River.


Cpl. Javier Antonio Garzon, 23, pleaded guilty in Onslow County Superior Court on Tuesday morning to second-degree murder in the fatal stabbing of 24-year-old Cpl. David Jacob Rutherford on Aug. 26, 2018 in Hubert.

Garzon and Rutherford were both Marines stationed at New River Air Station, Assistant District Attorney Mike Maltsby told the court Tuesday. The two lived together at the barracks and were friends.

On the night of Aug. 25, Garzon and Rutherford went to a Jacksonville bar and had several drinks, Maultsby said. They left the bar at 2 a.m. and went to the barracks before going to a Hubert residence where Garzon was house sitting for a friend.

They drank more at the Hubert home and got into an argument, according to Maltsby. The argument escalated into a fight and Garzon grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed Rutherford in the abdomen and neck, 12 times total. Garzon then dragged Rutherford to the backyard and attempted to clean the blood in the house.

The next morning, neighbors spotted the body in the backyard around 1:34 p.m. and called the police, Maltsby said. The Onslow County Sheriff's Office arrested Garzon without incident.

Garzon and Rutherford are both from California. Rutherford's family were present at the hearing and his mother, Kelly Moore, grandmother, and aunt made public statements.

"At this moment my life has changed," Rutherford's mother, Kelly Moore, said at the hearing. "When that murderer killed my son he killed a part of me that I am broken, and so is my family. You have taken away my only son, my pride and joy, and my reasons for life."

Judge Paul Quinn sentenced Garzon to 25-31 years in prison.

"The lives that have been affected, the damage can't be undone," Garzon's attorney Patrick Roberts said. "I think everyone wishes it didn't turn out the way it did."

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©2019 The Daily News (Jacksonville, N.C.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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