By XVIII Airborne Corps PAOMarch 25, 2009
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (Army News Service, March 25, 2009) -- Sgt. William J. Kreutzer Jr. was sentenced Tuesday to life imprisonment after being found guilty again of murder and attempted murder in the 1995 shooting spree of 19 Soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division.
Kreutzer, 38, was convicted and sentenced to death in 1996 for the crime which killed one officer and wounded 18 other Soldiers; but in March 2004, a three-judge panel set aside his sentence on appeal.
The current military judge at Fort Bragg, Col. Patrick Parrish, ruled that in addition to life in prison, Kreutzer should be reduced in rank to E-1, forfeit pay and allowances, and be given a dishonorable discharge.
Kreutzer was convicted of one specification of premeditated murder, 18 specifications of attempted murder, one specification of violating a general order by transporting weapons on post, and one specification of larceny of government property (theft of government ammunition).
The charges stem from the Oct. 27, 1995, shooting at Towle Stadium of members of the 2nd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division as they were conducting morning physical training. Kreutzer hid in the tree line and picked off the Soldiers one by one until three Special Forces members were able to sneak up and tackle him.
During the recent trial, the government team called a total of 11 witnesses. They included Diane Badger, the widow of Maj. Stephen Badger, and three of Badger's daughters: Francesca McCarthy, Amy Badger, and Heather Davis.
Other witnesses were Christa Griffith, wife of Spc. John Griffith, a Soldier Kreutzer attempted to murder; Timothy Hrastinski, an Army veteran from Lanesville, Ind.; Curtis Hall, an Army veteran from Houston, Texas; Army retiree Jeffery Graves from Warren, Mich.; Army retiree David Hurley from Southern Pines, N.C.; Sgt. 1st Class Charles Spicer from U.S. Army Recruiting Command, Philadelphia, Pa.; and Army retiree Matthew Lewis from the United Kingdom.
After the witnesses gave their testimony, Capt. David Krynicki from the prosecution team gave his sentencing arguments.
"A Soldier who murders doesn't deserve pay or (to wear) a stripe," said Krynicki. "He chose to be a coward. Sgt. Kreutzer alone is responsible (all of) this."
Maj. Gregory Malson from the defense team read the unsworn statement by Kreutzer to the members of the court as the accused stood at attention.
"To each and every person that I hurt directly by shooting them; and to each and every person affected by my actions, whether it be a family member, loved one, co-worker, neighbor or friend - I offer my most heartfelt, sincere apology to each of you," read Malson. "Words are inadequate to express the deep sense of shame and remorse that I feel for the harm that I caused. I apologize and am deeply sorry for what I have done."
In Kreutzer's unsworn statement he closed with saying he can't change the past, so his heartfelt and sincere desire is to provide any measure of help, closure, and comfort he can to all of his victims.
Maj. Eric Carpenter from the defense team made brief remarks, suggesting clemency in the sentencing since Kreutzer had been a role model prisoner for the past 13 years.
After deliberating, however, Parrish announced the sentence at 3:46 p.m. and dismissed the court.