McClain, 30, of District Heights, Md., was arrested nine days after police say he killed Kevin Tyrell Davis, 28.
McClain has been charged with first- and second-degree murder, but his attorney Thomas C. Mooney suggested McClain was inappropriately charged.
“I don’t believe my client to be the initial aggressor in this case,” said Mooney, adding that his client also was injured in the incident.
McClain’s wife and two young children also were in the crowded restaurant, the “last place” a person would commit a premeditated murder, Mooney said during Friday’s bail review hearing.
Davis was fatally stabbed at a Popeyes in Oxon Hill, Md., on the night of Nov. 4, the day after the fast-food restaurant rereleased its popular chicken sandwich.
Davis is seen on surveillance video cutting the line for customers waiting to buy the sandwiches over the course of 15 minutes, according to Prince George’s County police. When Davis reached the counter, McClain confronted him and the two got into a verbal altercation that spilled into the parking lot, police said.
“While exiting the store, the male Suspect can be seen brandishing a sharp object in his right hand,” charging documents state. “Once outside, the male Suspect, immediately swings the sharp object at the Decedent, stabbing him one time in the torso.”
McClain fled the scene in a car, charging documents state. A Prince George’s County police officer reviewing video of the altercation identified McClain. The officer had at least three interactions with McClain “during the course of fulfilling his duties as a police officer over the past year,” charging documents said.
McClain was captured Nov. 13 after investigators tracked him to a home in Capitol Heights, Md., police said.
McClain and Davis did not know each other before the incident, said County Police Chief Hank Stawinski, who decried the killing as “pointless” and “shocking.” Davis’s family and friends said they did not believe that the fight was over a chicken sandwich and called the killing as “senseless.”
Jonathon Church, head of the homicide unit for the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office, said McClain was wanted on an open warrant for driving without a driver's license at the time of the incident. Church also said in court that McClain has several criminal convictions, including cases that involve firearms.
“He certainly does pose a danger to the community,” Church said in arguing McClain should not be released on bond.
McClain is scheduled to appear in court again on Dec. 17.
Mooney said McClain “has very viable” defenses, but did not offer details.
“He looks forward to his day in court,” Mooney said.