Son of Bush White House aide charged in hatchet killing

Police initially responded to the report of a burglary in the 7200 block of Cliff Pine Drive in Gaithersburg. (WTOP/Nick Iannelli)

WASHINGTON – The son of a former aide to President George W. Bush is charged with killing a man with a hatchet in Montgomery County.

Claude Alexander Allen III, 20, of Gaithersburg, was arrested on a charge of first-degree murder Friday, according to court records.

Police say Allen killed a man at a home in the 7200 block of Cliff Pine Drive, which property records show is owned by Allen’s father, Claude A. Allen.

Court records list the home as the younger Allen’s address.

Montgomery County police were called to the home just after 12 a.m. Friday for a reported burglary. Allen III told police he had killed another man, who had tried to break into the home.

Officers found the body of Michael Phillip Harvey, 25, in a wooded area behind the home. A preliminary investigation determined that no burglary occurred and that the two young men knew each other.

But police didn’t say what the motive was behind the killing.

Investigators say a hatchet was used in the crime.

“We don’t know if that was the only weapon used, but we do know the hatchet was used,” says Montgomery County Police Capt. Jim Daly.

The elder Allen was a former domestic policy adviser in the Bush White House. He resigned in 2006 after being arrested for shoplifting at a Target store in Gaithersburg. He pleaded guilty to theft that same year, effectively ending a once-promising political career, 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.

A lawyer who represented the elder Allen didn’t return messages the Associated Press left seeking comment.

WTOP’s Nick Iannelli and the Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow @NickWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

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