Yesterday the King County Prosecutor's Office officially filed second-degree murder charges against 24-year-old Marcus Warren Frounfelter, accused of stabbing and killing 23-year-old Roger Roberts on the night of July 2 in Auburn. Authorities say Roberts was stabbed as he attempted to break up a fight between Frounfelter's uncle and his live-in girlfriend, a fight in which Frounfelter was not initially involved.
According to charging documents filed in King County court, Auburn police were called to a reported stabbing at a house party at 909 Sixth Street SE at approximately 11:56 p.m. Monday night. Upon arriving at the scene cops encountered Roberts lying on his back in the middle of the road, "bleeding profusely" from his chest and unresponsive. While officers performed CPR until medics arrived, Roberts was soon pronounced dead.
Police contacted a tenant at the house, Frounfelter's uncle, who, according to charging documents, "appeared to be in a mild state of shock and was pacing back and for saying, 'This is crazy, this is all just crazy.'" The uncle, who had a fat bottom lip, told police, "Someone just popped me in the mouth," though he didn't know who. He went on to say that he'd been arguing with his live-in girlfriend when she "went crazy" and the confrontation turned violent. He told police he attempted to defend himself, and at some point Frounfelter, got involved. According to the tenant his shirt got pulled over his head during the melee and he did not see Roberts get stabbed, telling police that when he was able to free himself from his shirt Roberts was already lying in the street. According to charging documents, the uncle was "very distraught," and was making statements about how it should have been him that got stabbed, not Roberts.
Following the stabbing, police determined Frounfelter left the party in a dark-colored SUV- and after dispatching a description of the vehicle a black Honda CRV was identified and pulled over near the 300 block of Auburn Way South. When police pulled the vehicle over they encountered five people inside, including Frounfelter and his two young children, ages three and one.
When police frisked Frounfelter they discovered a blood-covered, black folding Smith & Wesson knife clipped to his front left pants pocket. He was subsequently read his Miranda rights.
After being read his Miranda rights Frounfelter told police he was coming from his Aunt's house when he was stopped, where he'd been attending a family function. At some point he heard arguing coming from the front porch. Frounfelter told police he saw several people in brawling in the street outside, and that he became very angry because his youngest child was amongst the group in the street. He told police this was his motivation for joining the fight.
According to charging documents, Frounfelter told police he had stabbed someone during the fight with the folding knife found in his pocket, though he didn't know who.
The driver of the vehicle, Frounfelter's sister, provided further details about how the fight had escalated, saying the tenant of the home, Frounfelter's uncle, and his live- Frounfelter's sister told police that at some point neighbors from across the street, including Roberts, had come over to attempt to break up the skirmish. She said Frounfelter had also come out and gotten involved at some point. The Frounfelter's sister told police she didn't realize anyone had been stabbed until she heard someone say, "He's bleeding." Afterward, she told police, Frounfelter, his two children and another person had loaded into her vehicle and driven away. She told police she later saw her brother in the backseat with the bloody knife.
One of the vehicle's other occupants, a juvenile, was also interviewed - telling police he saw the same thing as Frounfelter's sister. Charging documents indicate the juvenile was advised that he was being audio and video recorded while in the patrol vehicle, and later officers witnessed him use his cell phone to call his mother and tell her Frounfelter stabbed someone, and that the person had been on the ground asking for help.
Police then interviewed the neighbor across the street from the house where the stabbing took place, where Roberts had been prior to his murder. The neighbor told police that he knew Frounfetler's uncle and his girlfriend, and early in the evening Frounfetler's uncle had come over and hung out for about an hour. The neighbor told police that after about an hour they all heard the uncle's girlfriend yelling for him, saying she seemed angry. Charging documents indicate the neighbor thought Frounfetler's uncle was drunk, but not angry. The uncle eventually returned home.
A short time later the neighbor's brother reported a fight across the street to the group, and the neighbor, Roberts and "a couple other people," according to charging documents, ran across the street to help. They first encountered Frounfetler's uncle, his girlfriend and another female fighting. Roberts grabbed Frounfetler's uncle and held him down while the neighbor dealt with the females. According to charging documents, eventually everyone seemed to calm down and Roberts let Frounfetler's uncle off the ground.
Prosecutors contend that at this point the neighbor began to walk back to his house when he was confronted by a Hispanic male who, despite efforts to calm him, remained aggressive and kept saying "That's what I thought." After what's described as a "few moments" dealing with this, the neighbor again attempted to walk back to his house, reaching his gate and turning to call to his friends to tell them to come back as well. It was at this point that the neighbor saw Roberts "stumbling into the street." At first the neighbor suspected Roberts was having a heart attack, as he had a heart condition, but upon rushing to his aid the neighbor quickly realized he'd been stabbed. Charging documents indicate the neighbor attempted to stop Roberts' bleeding and yelled for someone to call 911. Later, he told police he didn't see anyone stab Roberts.
Frounfelter was interviewed by investigators once again, admitting to authorities that he'd have five or six beers and "a couple 'hits' of marijuana," before the stabbing, according to charging documents. Frounfelter also told police he suffers from brain trauma, has had 19 brain surgeries to address the trauma, and is paralyzed on his right side due to a stroke. According to charging documents Frounfelter also told police he has two brain tumors.
Charging documents indicate Frounfelter told police that he'd been inside the house talking to his girlfriend on the phone when he heard his three-year-old girl yelling outside, at which point he went to the door and saw the child in the middle of what he described as a "brawl." Frounfelter told authorities he became "crazy" wanting to protect his daughter.
Authorities point out in charging documents that initially Frounfelter hold told police it was his youngest, one-year-old child that was in the middle of the fight.
Frounfelter eventually told police that he was trying to get people away so he could get his daughter, and that he didn't even know he'd stabbed anyone until his sister told him.
Charging documents indicate Frounfetler's sister was interviewed a second time by investigators, telling police that she'd confronted Frounfelter in the moments after the stabbing, and that he had "wide eyes." She told authorities she asked her brother what he had done, and that he didn't respond. She then looked down at his hand and saw the still-open knife as well as blood on his left hand. She then told police she slapped Frounfelter because it appeared he was in shock.
Putting Frounfetler's motive for entering the fracas into serious question, prosecutors say that when questioned Frounfelter's sister told authorities that his children were never in the middle of the fight. Other witnesses, including the juvenile from the SUV and the neighbor who came to break up the fight, also tell authorities they saw no children involved in the altercation.
Frounfelter will be arraigned on July 19, and remains in jail on $1 million bail.