Man killed in Silver Spring apartment; longtime friend charged with murder -- Gazette.Net


This story was updated at 5:45 p.m. on Oct. 15.

A birthday party over the weekend ended in tragedy after Montgomery County Police arrested a McLean, Va., man and charged him with killing his longtime friend.

Police said Rahul Gupta, 24, killed Mark Edward Waugh, 23, of Great Falls, Va., in Silver Spring early Sunday morning, after a night of drinking with Waugh and other friends.

The two met years before, when they had attended Langley High School. Waugh had recently entered Georgetown University’s law school. Gupta was pursuing a master’s in biomedical engineering at the George Washington University.

According to documents made public Tuesday, Gupta, his girlfriend, Waugh and another man had gone out drinking Saturday night to celebrate Gupta’s birthday. The girlfriend was identified in court records as Taylor Gould.

Gupta, Gould and Waugh returned early Sunday morning to a Silver Spring apartment that Gupta and Gould shared. There, they continued drinking.

Police received a call for help shortly before 3:30 a.m. When they arrived at the apartment, they heard yelling inside, according to Gupta’s charging documents.

The documents tell a grisly tale: Officers entered the apartment and saw Gould running toward them, telling them, “I don’t know what happened. Can you tell me?”

Blood was found on the walls of the home’s living room and kitchen, and on Gupta, whom police found lying on the floor.

The blood was from Waugh, whom police found lying near Gupta.

Waugh had been stabbed more than a half a dozen times. Fire and Rescue personnel pronounced him dead on the scene.

In Montgomery County District Court on Tuesday, Assistant State’s Attorney Steve Chaikin told Judge William G. Simmons that Gupta had stabbed Waugh in his upper back — the attack punctured a lung — and clavicle, slashing his jugular vein. Waugh also had “defensive type” injuries on his body, Chaikin said.

Reached by phone at her home on Monday, Nancy Waugh, Waugh’s mother, said, “It’s very hard right now.”

She said Waugh and Gupta were “best friends.”

Waugh had graduated magna cum laude from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., in 2012, said Bill Wyatt, a spokesman for the university. He said Waugh studied history at JMU and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, the prestigious honor society, last year.

The school’s website shows Waugh was an active member of the debate team. That passion began in high school, Waugh’s mother said. Waugh spent a year teaching debate in Daegu, South Korea, before he pursued his degree at Georgetown University, she said.

“It’s just a shock. We can’t believe it,” she said. Waugh’s family is setting up a fund in his memory at JMU for the school’s debate program, she said.

She said her family was trying to understand why Gupta might have killed her son.

According to the documents made public Tuesday, Gupta told investigators that he believed Waugh and Gould were having a relationship behind his back.

“My girl was cheating with my buddy. I walked in on them cheating and I killed my buddy,” Gupta told police, according to his charging documents.

Gupta told investigators that he woke up to see Waugh “bleeding out,” sitting next to the bed.

Gupta also told investigators that Waugh had “tried to kill me and my family.”

Gould told police that after the last round of drinks the group consumed, she didn’t remember anything, until Gupta’s yells — for her to call police — woke her. According to her account in court documents, Gupta was kneeling over Waugh’s body.

Gupta was charged with second-degree murder, which carries a maximum penalty of 30 years. He was in custody in Montgomery County on $2 million bail on Tuesday.

Reginald Bours III, his attorney, argued in court Tuesday that Gupta’s bail should be lowered to $50,000, citing his studies at George Washington University and his otherwise clean criminal history. Bours said Gupta was taking classes toward another degree and had more than $80,000 in student loans, he said.

“He has a lot at stake maintaining his career as a student,” Bours said.

“He’s on a different path now,” Chaikin said, arguing that Gupta be denied bail. Simmons kept the bail at $2 million.

Gupta’s parents, who were at the hearing, declined to speak to media.

In court, Bours disputed portions of the charging documents, noting that Gupta and Waugh had gone out to celebrate, then returned to the same apartment.

“There is no situation where he would be coming in and finding them together,” Bours said.

Kathryn Chmura, a neighbor of the Waughs, said in a phone interview that Waugh was “a smart kid” who had three siblings.

“They’re all a lovely family,” she said, describing Waugh and his siblings as “polite and professional.”