Which is better, the Army or Marines? The answer to this question was important enough for two men to argue about it till one ended up murdered for his beliefs.
William Earl Cunningham, 63, was charged with deliberate homicide for slashing Nathan Horn’s, 40, throat over an argument about which branch of the service was superior.
Fox News reported that Laurel police arrested Cunningham in connection with the incident early on Sunday and booked him into the Yellowstone County Detention Facility. Pending an initial court appearance, he is being held without bond.
Police dispatch received a 911 call shortly before midnight on Saturday from a neighbor of Cunningham, reporting he had cut a man’s throat and the man was dying.
According to The Billings Gazette, an officer went to the scene and found Horn bleeding from the neck. Horn’s face was on the ground with his legs draped over a bench near a picnic table. His right cheek had a deep laceration and a cut under his chin stretched from the left to right side of his neck.
Cunningham was standing against a Buick sedan when police arrived. He voluntarily said, “I cut him. He’s dead,” charging documents stated. Even though paramedics arrived on the scene, they were unable to resuscitate Horn and he was declared dead less than an hour later.
“The knife’s on the table,” Cunningham reportedly told an officer, pointing out a bloody folding knife with a 3 ½-inch blade.
The Billings Gazette reported officers read Cunningham his rights and he agreed to make a statement. In that statement, Cunningham told the officer that he and Horn had been sitting at the picnic table when they started arguing about whether the Army or Marines was the best branch of the U.S. military.
“During this time the argument became physical, and Mr. Cunningham admitted to (LPD Officer Jeremiah) Johnson that he slashed the throat of Mr. Horn,” Laurel Police Sgt. Mark Guy said during a press conference Monday evening.
Guy declined to provide further details about the disagreement, but said the men had argued the night before over the same issue. He wasn’t sure if either of the men had served in the military but mentioned they both had prior non-violent criminal histories. He also added that alcohol was a factor in the incident.
The Montana Division of Criminal Investigation is assisting the Laurel Police Department with the investigation.