Paratrooper faces trial

He's accused in soldier's death

The Fayetteville ObserverMay 2, 2009 

One of the seven paratroopers who are accused of accidentally killing a fellow soldier last summer will face a court-martial, the 82nd Airborne Division announced Friday.

Sgt. Justin Boyle of Rocky Point, N.Y., will go on trial for involuntary manslaughter and two lesser charges related to the death of 27-year-old Pfc. Luke Brown of Fredericksburg, Va.

The military has not announced whether any of the other six men will face charges.

Brown died July 20 after a night out drinking at the Ugly Stick Saloon in Fayetteville with men from his unit.

Witnesses said that Brown ran wildly from the Raeford Road bar into the woods, and that his friends punched, kicked and choked him to subdue him. They then zip-tied his hands behind his back and put him in the back seat of a car.

He was unresponsive when they arrived back at the barracks on Fort Bragg.

In a hearing to determine whether to send the soldiers to trial, Sgt. Mitchell Lafortune identified Boyle as the soldier who choked Brown.

Boyle told The Fayetteville Observer that Brown was choking another soldier when Boyle found him in the woods.

Boyle's lawyer, Anita Gorecki, said Friday's announcement was no surprise.

But she and lawyers for the other accused soldiers have said the men were only trying to help out a friend and shouldn't face punishment for it.

"I think it is a sad day for the division, because I think the message that is being sent is a Catch-22, which is, protect your buddies, bring your buddies home, but if something happens along the way, you could be court-martialed," Gorecki said.

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