Tears welled up in Kimberly Turnipseed's eyes as she stood outside the courtroom in Tacoma, Wash., today where the soldier accused of killing a friend of her daughter, Tevin Geike, who was also a soldier, was facing a first-degree murder charge.
"He died like a dog," Turnipseed said. "I'm the mom -- the group mother -- I consider Tevin Geike my son."
The fatal stabbing of Geike has raised passions, not only because one soldier is accused of killing another, but because he was white, his alleged killer was black, and the incident began with the shouting of a racial slur directed against Geike and his white companions.
Geike, who was looking forward to a new life out of the Army after serving for three years, was out with two Army friends celebrating early Saturday morning. They were walking down a street in a small suburban community just outside Joint Base Lewis-McChord when a car drove by. Someone in the car shouted, "White cracker," and someone on the street shouted something back, police said.
Geike and his two friends are white. There were four African American soldiers and one Hispanic soldier in the car, police said.
The group in the car had been out drinking, too, and four of them got out and confronted Geike and his friends, according to police.
"There was some trash talk," a source familiar with the investigation said.
When one of the soldiers, Cedarium Johnson, realized all of them were active duty Army he called for the others to get back into the car.
They thought it was over, one witness told investigators.
Then, according to police, Jeremiah Hill walked up behind Geike and gave him a "bear hug." When the man released Geike, he dropped to the ground, police said.
Soldier Matthew Barnes says he held his friend and called for help. Geike died moments later, stabbed in the heart.
"Where's the outrage?" Turnipseed said. "If this had been the other way around -- black victims -- then this would have been a hate crime."
"If a hate crime had been committed we'd be charging for a hate crime but we don't have any evidence," prosecutor Mark Lindquist told ABC News.
Neither the victim nor the suspect had talked to each other during the confrontation, he said.
Hill was charged with first degree murder. Soldiers Ajoni Runnion-Bareford and Cedarium Johnson were charged with rendering criminal assistance.
Hill's bail was set at $2 million during the hearing today in Pierce County Superior Court.
Johnson was released but will be confined to his barracks at Fort Lewis.
Hill had a bandage on his right hand during the court hearing. He injured himself, cutting his hand during the attack when it slipped off the shank of the knife, according to a source familiar with the case. The knife has been recovered. Hill has not given a statement to police.
Two of the five soldiers in the car are cooperating with police.
Hill, from Chicago, joined the Army six months ago, in April.
Geike was assigned to the 16th Aviation Brigade and has served since October 2010. The 16th Aviation Brigade has supported infantry units in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The suspects' unit, the 3rd Stryker Brigade, has had multiple deployments in both Iraq and Afghanistan.