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Man killed in argument over military branches

Aug. 5, 2014 - 01:56PM   |  
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BILLINGS, MONT. — A Montana man who faces a deliberate homicide charge for slashing another man's throat told police they were arguing over which branch of the United States military was better, the Army or the Marines, Yellowstone County prosecutors said.

William Earl Cunningham, 63, of Laurel was arrested early Sunday on suspicion of deliberate homicide in the death of 40-year-old Nathan Horn of Billings. Cunningham was jailed without bond ahead of a court appearance and couldn't be reached for comment.

County Attorney Scott Twito said he expected Cunningham to make the appearance Tuesday.

The stabbing was reported late Saturday.

Responding officers found Cunningham leaning against a car and Horn lying on the grass next to Cunningham's feet. Horn had a cut on his right cheek and a deep cut on the left side of his neck.

"I cut him. He's dead," Cunningham told police, according to charging documents. "The knife's on the table."

Horn was pronounced dead less than an hour later.

After Cunningham was read his rights, he told officers he and Horn were sitting at the picnic table when they began arguing about whether the Army or Marines was the best branch of the military, court records said.

Laurel Police Sgt. Mark Guy said Monday that the men had argued the night before about the same issue. He wasn't sure if either man had served in the military.

Lena Heller told KULR-TV that she had invited the two men over on Saturday night and they had been drinking when they started arguing.

"I think it's horrible that somebody would just kill somebody for no reason, just because of an argument," Heller said.

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