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Article updated: 5/24/2013 4:57 PM

Maryland slaying suspect is son of Bush White House official

Claude Alexander Allen III

Claude Alexander Allen III

 

Associated Press/ Montgomery County Police Departm

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Associated Press

GAITHERSBURG, Md. -- The 20-year-old son of a former aide to President George W. Bush was charged in a Washington, D.C., suburb on Friday, accused by police of killing a man with a hatchet.

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Claude Alexander Allen III, of Gaithersburg, was arrested by Montgomery County police and online court records show he's been charged with first-degree murder.

A phone message left at the Allen household wasn't returned. A lawyer who has represented the younger Allen in a prior marijuana possession case declined to comment Friday. It wasn't immediately clear if he had a new lawyer.

The killing occurred at the Gaithersburg home that property records show is owned by Allen's mother and father, Claude A. Allen.

Police say they were called to the home around midnight by a man who said he had killed someone who had tried to break into his home. Officers who arrived determined that there had not been a break-in, and police say the younger Allen, and the victim, 25-year-old Michael Phillip Harvey, knew each other. Harvey's body was found in woods outside the home.

Police didn't immediately reveal a motive or say how the body ended up in the woods.

The elder Allen was a domestic policy adviser in the Bush White House, but his political career effectively ended when he was arrested in 2006 for leaving a Gaithersburg Target store with merchandise that authorities said he didn't pay for. He pleaded guilty to theft that same year, admitting that he made phony returns to discount department stores, and was fined and placed on probation.

He told the judge at his sentencing hearing that he had lost perspective while working long hours and getting little sleep in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

He's been a member at Covenant Life Church, an evangelical church in Gaithersburg.

"The very sad story being reported in the news today is the only information we have at this time. We are grieving and praying for the family of the victim, the Allen family and all involved," church spokesman Don Nalle said in a statement.

The younger Allen was not scheduled to appear in court on Friday.

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