Suspect in Fatal Metro Stabbing in Court for Earlier Assault Charge

The suspect in the fatal stabbing of a young political strategist aboard a Metro train on July 4 will appear in court Friday on an earlier assault charge.

Jasper Spires, 18, will appear on charges that he assaulted a man in Friendship Heights just two days before the stabbing. Police say Spires approached a man on Wisconsin Avenue, weilding an empty wine bottle, and demanded money.

When the victim didn't comply, police say, Spires grabbed his neck and demaded to know what was in his pockets.

Spires also punched and kicked police officers who responded, police said.

That alleged assault happened just two days before the fatal stabbing on the Red Line train at the NoMa-Galludet station. Police say Spires attacked Kevin Joseph Sutherland, 24, of northeast D.C. while Sutherland was on his way to a July 4 celebration.

The attack described in charging documents was brutal. Police say Spires "stomped" on Sutherland and stabbed him 30 to 40 times.

Police have speculated that Spires may have been under the influence of synthetic drugs when the Metro stabbing happened. Spires had graduated from Wilson High School in D.C. at 16, where he played football; he had attended a small private college in North Carolina after graduating.

Sutherland was a graduate of American University and served as an intern for Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) in 2008 and 2010. He worked at New Blue Interactive.

Friends told News4 Sutherland dreamed of a career as a progressive politician.

“He was everything, and it's the small details about him that you don't realize you miss until now that he is actually gone,” roommate Tya Scott said. “He was just so quirky, so loving.”

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