UNITED STATES NEWS

US army panel advises trial in Afghanistan suicide

Jan 23, 2012, 5:12 PM

Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – An investigative hearing has recommended that an American soldier be court-martialed over hazing that allegedly led to a fellow infantryman’s suicide in Afghanistan, but dismissed the most serious charge against him, the U.S. military said Monday.

Spc. Ryan Offutt is one of eight soldiers charged in the death of 19-year-old Pvt. Danny Chen, who shot himself on Oct. 3 after what investigators say were weeks of physical abuse, humiliation and racial slurs.

A native New Yorker of Chinese descent, Chen had been in Afghanistan only two months when he shot himself in a guardhouse at a remote outpost in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province.

The investigative hearing recommended that Offutt, 32, be court-martialed on charges including assault, negligent homicide, and reckless endangerment, a statement from U.S. military said.

It said the hearing, which ended Sunday, did not recommend trial for an additional charge of involuntary manslaughter, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

The most serious charge Offutt now faces is negligent homicide, which carries a prison sentence of up to three years.

The regional American military commander will make a final decision on any court-martial based on the hearing’s recommendations, the U.S. statement said.

Attorneys for Offutt could not immediately be contacted. Offutt, a native of Greenville, Pa., joined the Army in 2006 and served 14 months in Iraq before being deployed to Afghanistan.

Chen’s family has said investigators told them that he was subjected to racial slurs and forced to do excessive sit-ups, push-ups, runs and sprints carrying sandbags.

Seven other members of Chen’s unit will face similar hearings over the next month at Kandahar Air Field, the sprawling base for U.S. and NATO operations in the south.

The Army has identified the other soldiers charged as 1st Lt. Daniel J. Schwartz, 25, of Maryland (no hometown was given); Staff Sgt. Blaine G. Dugas, 35, of Port Arthur, Texas; Staff Sgt. Andrew J. Van Bockel, 26, of Aberdeen, S.D.; Sgt. Adam M. Holcomb, 29, of Youngstown, Ohio; Sgt. Jeffrey T. Hurst, 26, of Brooklyn, Iowa; Spc. Thomas P. Curtis, 25, of Hendersonville, Tenn; and Sgt. Travis F. Carden, 24, of Fowler, Ind.

All are members of the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division based out of Fort Wainwright, Alaska.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

FILE -Stephen Parlato of Boulder, Colo., holds a sign that reads "Hands Off Roe!!!" as abortion rig...

Associated Press

Alabama IVF ruling puts spotlight on state plans for tax breaks and child support for fetuses

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The recent Alabama Supreme Court ruling that frozen embryos are legally protected children is highlighting how support for the idea that a fetus should have the same rights as a person underpins far less dramatic laws and proposals from abortion foes across the U.S. Lawmakers in at least six states have […]

4 hours ago

This image provided by Tyler Watts shows Florida Man Games competitors, from left, Joshua Barr, Mic...

Associated Press

At the Florida Man Games, tank-topped teams compete at evading police, wrestling over beer

They rose up by the dozens from across Florida, caricatured competitors in tank tops and cutoff shorts, for a showdown that treats evading police and wrestling over beer like Olympic sports. Promoted as “the most insane athletic showdown on Earth,” the Florida Man Games poke fun at the state’s reputation for bizarre stories that involve […]

4 hours ago

Andie Nelson, right, embraces Brian Jaskot, both of Virginia, after their race during the 25 meter ...

Associated Press

‘Totally cold’ is not too cold for winter swimmers competing in a frozen Vermont lake

NEWPORT, Vt. (AP) — Plunging into a frozen lake and swimming laps may not be everyone’s good time but for winter swimmers who return year after year to a northern Vermont lake near the Canadian border, there’s nothing better. The 10th annual Memphremagog Winter Swimming Festival kicked off Friday with the 200-meter (218-yard) freestyle race […]

5 hours ago

FILE - A school bus moves up Rock Door Canyon Rd., in Oljato-Monument Valley, Utah, on the Navajo r...

Associated Press

Native American tribes gain new authority to stop unwanted hydropower projects

Federal regulators have granted Native American tribes more power to block hydropower projects on their land after a flurry of applications were filed to expand renewable energy in the water-scarce U.S. Southwest.

8 hours ago

Associated Press

1 killed, 17 injured in New York City apartment fire

NEW YORK (AP) — One person was killed and 17 were injured in a fire that broke out at a New York City apartment building, leaving some residents trapped on the fire escape on Friday. Twelve people were taken to area hospitals, and four were in critical condition, officials said at a news conference. One […]

9 hours ago

(Karim Jaafar/Pool via AP)...

Associated Press

Biden administration restores Trump-rescinded policy on illegitimacy of Israeli settlements

The Biden administration on Friday restored a U.S. legal finding dating back nearly 50 years that Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are “illegitimate” under international law.

9 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

US army panel advises trial in Afghanistan suicide