Soldier found guilty of dereliction in Chen's death
November 13, 2012
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (Army News Service, Nov. 13, 2012) -- Sgt. Jeffrey Hurst was found guilty Friday of one specification of dereliction of duty in relation to the death of Pvt. Danny Chen in Afghanistan.
Chen reportedly shot himself Oct. 3, 2011, after alleged hazing from fellow infantrymen at Combat Outpost Palace. They were all members of 1st Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, from Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
Hurst was sentenced to reduction in rank to E4 and hard labor without confinement for 45 days by a panel of eight officer and enlisted members following the five-day trial at Fort Bragg.
Hurst was the sixth Soldier to appear in court at Fort Bragg in relation to Chen's death. The other five were either convicted through courts martial or entered plea bargains. Two more Soldiers still face charges.
A court-martial is scheduled to begin Wednesday for Staff Sgt. Andrew Van Bockel. The trial is scheduled to last through Nov. 21 at the Fort Bragg courthouse.
Van Bockel has been charged with negligent homicide, reckless endangerment, assault, two specifications of maltreatment of a subordinate, three specifications of dereliction of duty, and two specifications of violating a lawful general regulation
First Lt. Daniel Schwartz is scheduled to face charges related to Chen later this month.
The other five Soldiers are:
-- Sgt. Adam Holcomb, who was convicted of maltreatment and sentenced to 30 days in prison, the loss of a rank and forfeiture of more than $1,100.
-- Spc. Ryan Offutt, who pleaded guilty to hazing and mistreating Chen. He was sentenced to six months in prison, demotion to private and a bad conduct discharge.
-- Staff Sgt. Blaine Dugas, who was demoted a rank and sentenced to three months in prison for dereliction of duty. He was given credit for 90 days in prison while awaiting trial.
-- Sgt. Travis Carden, who was demoted a rank and will forfeit two-thirds of his pay for a month. He was convicted of hazing and maltreating Chen.
-- Spc. Thomas Porter Curtis IV, who was demoted to private and sentenced to three months in prison. He pled guilty to hazing and maltreatment.
(Information taken from two Fort Bragg news releases and other government sources.)