Five soldiers court-martialed for role in deadly fight

Posted: Sunday, June 23, 2002

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Five Fort Wainwright soldiers have been court-martialed for their involvement in a January fight that ended with the death of an Eielson Air Force Base airman.

The five organized a group of people seeking revenge for an alleged fight involving two soldiers the previous night, according to military officials.

Alaska State Troopers who initially investigated the shooting Jan. 13 said Airman 1st Class Terry Lee Hachtel, 19, was fatally shot in the chest and died en route to the hospital. He was a friend of the five soldiers who organized the group that convened on the trailer at about 12:24 a.m., said Fort Wainwright spokeswoman Linda Douglass.

Trooper investigator Eric Olsen said the district attorney's office has declined to press charges in the incident, but the Fairbanks Youth Facility is still studying the case to see whether the three or four juveniles involved will be charged. Olsen would not release new details of the shooting because of the involvement of juveniles in the case.

''It's unfortunate there was a death but we're fortunate that no other deaths occurred. That was evident by the amount of bullets going through the residence and hitting objects,'' Olsen told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Troopers had previously said the four people inside the trailer had numerous guns while only one person had a gun outside.

Those court-martialed in early June are:

-- Pfc. Matthew Lundy, who was the only one in the group outside the trailer who had a gun and fired back, according to Douglass. Lundy pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit assault, two-counts of breach of the peace by an ''outward demonstration of a violent or turbulent nature,'' violation of a lawful regulation and wrongful and willful discharge of a handgun. He was sentenced to eight months confinement in a military prison and a dishonorable discharge.

-- Pfc. Benjamin Pravecek, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit assault, two-counts of breach of the peace, damage to private property and unlawfully entering a building with the intent to commit an assault. He was sentenced to forfeiture of all pay, five months confinement, 90 days of hard labor without confinement and a bad-conduct discharge, which a military judge suspended along with three months of jail time.

-- Pfc. Robert Poyner and Spc. Adam Hutchinson, who were convicted of conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, two counts of breach of peace and unlawfully entering a building with intent to commit an assault. Poyner was sentenced to a total forfeiture of pay, seven months jail time and a bad-conduct discharge. Hutchinson was sentenced to forfeiture of $737 per month for the next six months, 135 days in jail and 90 days hard labor without confinement.

-- Spc. Justin Rouse, who was convicted of conspiracy to commit assault, two counts of breach of the peace and unlawfully entering a building with the intent to commit an assault. He was sentenced to total forfeiture of pay, three months in jail, 90 days of hard labor without confinement and a bad conduct discharge. The judge recommended the discharge be suspended.

All five were reduced to the rank of private.

Douglass said one more solider is facing a court martial, but Army officials are withholding the name until the results of the trial are known.



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