2021 | Police & Fire

UPDATED: Teens charged with fatal stabbing near Bethesda store allegedly wanted marijuana

Victim was found in stairwell leading to Target on Wisconsin Avenue

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This story was updated at 4:30 p.m. Dec. 22, 2021, with more details.

Three teens charged with stabbing a man to death in the stairwell of a Bethesda Target on Sunday allegedly were trying to rob him of marijuana, according to charging documents.

Montgomery County police said Blaise Uchemadu, 18, and two boys ages 16 and 17, all of Bethesda, have been charged with killing 33-year-old Lawrence Richard Wilson Jr.

All three teens have been charged as adults.

Bethesda Beat generally does not identify minors who are charged with a crime.

According to charging documents, police got a call on Monday from someone who said their relative had stabbed and killed a man at the Target at 6831 Wisconsin Ave. in Bethesda on Sunday.

Police said they found the man with stab wounds around 8:15 p.m. in the stairwell on Monday, and that he died at the scene.

According to surveillance footage, the three teens entered the stairwell, and after 17 minutes, two of the teens are seen running away.

Police said that at some point, one of the teens told authorities that he and Uchemadu went to the Target to rob the victim of two ounces of marijuana. Police said that during the robbery, one teen handed another a knife, and the victim was stabbed. The teens then fled.

Prosecutor Kathy Knight said during a bond review hearing on Wednesday that the teens entered the stairwell together, and one of the juvenile teens stabbed Wilson. Wilson had stab wounds on his abdomen and throat, Knight said.

According to police, the teens were living in a group home and an employee there identified Uchemadu as one of the suspects. Uchemadu’s identity was also confirmed through computer databases.

One of the teens was arrested after trying to board a Metro train for D.C. on Tuesday, police said in charging documents.

By Tuesday afternoon, all three teens had been charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery.

During a hearing on Wednesday, Montgomery County District Court Judge Amy Bills called the stabbing an “extremely brutal crime” and ordered that the 17-year-old be held without bond to protect the community.

Bills continued the cases of Uchemadu and the 16-year-old to later this month to give the public defender’s office time to assign each of them separate attorneys. They will remain held without bond until their next court dates.

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com