Court-Martial Begins for 2nd Soldier in Hazing Case
A U.S. Army carry team transfers the remains of Army Pvt. Danny Chen at Dover Air Force Base, Del., Oct. 5, 2011. Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force Mortuary Service.
FAIRBANKS — The court-martial of a second Fort Wainwright soldier accused in the death of a fellow soldier in Afghanistan last year is scheduled to begin Monday in Fort Bragg, N.C.
The hearing for Specialist Ryan Offutt, assigned to the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, is expected to run through Wednesday, according to a notice from the Army.
Offutt is one of eight soldiers of the Stryker brigade charged in the death of Private Danny Chen. He and the eight soldiers were all assigned to the brigade’s 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment.
Chen, 19, fatally shot himself in a guardhouse October 3, about halfway through the brigade’s year-long deployment in Afghanistan.
Chen was reportedly bullied and taunted by members of his unit leading up to his death. His family has said investigators told them Chen, of Chinese descent, was subjected to racial slurs and repeated hazing.
Offutt faces a variety of charges, including “hazing and maltreating” Chen, thereby causing Chen “to take his own life with a firearm,” according to the charging document.
One soldier was convicted last month. A military jury found Sergeant Adam Holcomb guilty of maltreatment of a subordinate and assault consummated by battery but acquitted him of a charge of negligent homicide.
Jurors determined that Holcomb assaulted Chen by pulling him out of bed and across large rocks and that he mistreated Chen by calling him “Dragon Lady.”
Holcomb was sentenced to 30 days in prison and demoted. He also lost a month’s pay.
Courts-martial will be held for the other six soldiers. They face a multitude of charges, including negligent homicide, assault, maltreatment, reckless endangerment and other violations of military code.
Not all of the soldiers face the same slate of charges.
Contact the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner newsroom at 907-459-7572.