Sergeant sticks to story in throat-slashing case
Stars and Stripes June 28, 2007
NAHA, Okinawa — Marine Sgt. Michael Avinger stuck to his story during 90 minutes on the stand Tuesday, claiming he sliced a man’s throat in order to save his life.
Avinger, 30, said he drove to Hamahiga Island on Oct. 25 to watch his friend, Darian Preston Daniels, fight Bryant White, 23, a former airman and a co-worker in a furniture store.
Avinger has admitted grabbing White from behind and slashing his throat. But he denied that robbery, as has been claimed by White, or a marijuana deal gone bad, as claimed by Daniels, were reasons he cut him.
He said that he had meant merely to scare White, but when Daniels started asking the victim about money, he knew something else was in the works.
“Why did you cut his throat?” Daniels’ lawyer asked Avinger.
“After Daniels finished questioning Mr. White, he said he was going to snuff him,” Avinger answered. But the cut was deeper than he intended, he said.
Daniels has testified he was a former member of a stateside Crips gang.
Avinger said he hoped White would play dead. He said he pushed White to the ground and then he and Daniels dragged him to some bushes.
After they left, White struggled to a nearby house and called for help. He has a 7-inch scar across his throat.
At the opening of the trial, White said he was lured to the island that night on the promise they would pick up some girls but that he was attacked by both men who wanted a large amount of cash they knew White’s wife had thrown at him during an argument a week before.
Earlier this month, Daniels, who is a Navy spouse and former Marine, testified that the altercation was solely between Avinger and White over a botched marijuana deal.
The next hearing in the case is set for July 19.