Marine slain in Columbia had promising career Stepfather charged in case was fired as state trooper

March 23, 1997|By Jamie Stiehm | Jamie Stiehm,SUN STAFF

Marine Cpl. Andre D. Boone, who was shot to death at his family's Howard County home Friday, had a bright future in the Marine Corps and had recently earned a coveted post as a noncommissioned officer assigned to the White House.

Boone's stepfather, James M. Harding Jr., 39, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder after the shooting, which occurred in Harding's home on Goodin Circle in Columbia. It was Howard's first homicide in 1997, county police said.

Harding is a former Maryland state trooper who was "found to have violated administrative policies and state criminal laws" and was fired in June 1994 after 18 months as a trooper, said Capt. Greg Shipley, state police spokesman.

Sgt. Glenn Hansen, a Howard police spokesman, said an argument between Boone, 23, and Harding "immediately preceded" the shooting, but offered no details about the argument. Police also said the two men were the only people in the house when the shooting occurred.

Boone, a 1992 graduate of Hammond High School in Columbia, entered the Marines in 1994 and was stationed in Washington.

He was assigned as a stage crewman for the U.S. Marine Band, the President's official band, according to Chief Warrant Officer Joe Boyer, a Marine Corps spokesman.

Boyer said Boone was recently cleared to serve in the White House as a noncommissioned officer, a key protocol assignment that involves standing guard near the president and other heads of state.

"It's something that only a Marine with a very good record who was well-regarded by his superiors would be qualified for," said Boyer. "We regard it as a tragedy. We have lost a member of the family."

Pub Date: 3/23/97

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