The Army Blotter: 'Roids, weed and indigestion in the headlines through Friday


Several soldiers from the 4/23 Battalion, who confessed to using steroids, estimated that more than half the unit of some 700 soldiers had sampled steroids, according to investigative documents obtained by The Seattle Times under the federal Freedom of Information Act. One soldier had a scheme for continuing steroid use in Afghanistan through the receipt of mail-order packages that would disguise the drugs in lotion packets. [via Seattle Times]

  • Soldiers accused of breaking into a Colorado medical marijuana dispensary and then accidentally locking themselves inside told police they planned to destroy the marijuana — not smoke or sell it. [via The Gazette in Colorado Springs/Associated Press/Google]
  • A Texas businessman has agreed to pay $15 million to settle federal allegations of defrauding the government by selling dated and potentially dangerous food to the U.S. military to supply combat soldiers serving in Iraq, according to a new federal complaint. [via the Los Angeles Times]
  • More than a dozen School of Americas Watch protesters were arrested on the first day of the annual demonstration in Columbus. Police estimated the crowd had reached 4,700 during the day but fewer people were around when the arrests were made. The protest is part of the SOA Watch’s annual attempt to close the former School of the Americas, now the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. This year, it drew its smallest crowd ever. [via Ledger-Enquirer and the New York Times]
  • Three boys in Durham, Maine, have been charged with toppling headstones and yanking U.S. flags from graves on Veterans Day. State Police cited the youths, ages 11, 13 and 15, with charges of aggravated criminal mischief. [via the Sun-Journal]
  • An Army appeals court has granted a stay in the case of an Idaho soldier who is among five charged in the alleged thrill killings of three Afghan civilians earlier this year. Pfc. Andrew Holmes, of Boise, faced a preliminary hearing this week to determine whether there’s enough evidence to send his case to a court martial. His lawyer, Dan Conway, objected because the Army barred him from showing gruesome photographs which he says help prove that his client did not kill one of the civilians. [via Associated Press/ The Olympian]
  • An Iraq war veteran can sue the makers of the Academy Award-winning film “The Hurt Locker” in California, not New Jersey, over his claim that the lead character was based on him and he was given no credit or compensation, a judge has ruled. The lawsuit was brought last spring by Master Sgt. Jeffrey Sarver, an Army bomb disposal expert. [via Associated Press/Fresno Bee]
  • A Tennessee jury found a former soldier not guilty of trying to murder his wife following a jury trial this week. After returning from Iraq to marital problems, Andrew Williams Curtis, 24, allegedly got drunk, threatened suicide and pointed a gun at his wife for four hours. Curtis’ attorney claimed the ex-soldier meant to fire in the air when he hit his wife. [via Leaf-Chronicle]
  • A Swedish court has approved a motion to bring Julian Assange, the 39-year-old founder of WikiLeaks, into custody for questioning. The decision paves the way for prosecutors to seek his arrest abroad through Interpol. Assange,  behind the biggest leak of U.S. war documents in history, is suspected of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion. He has denied the allegations, which stem from his encounters with two women during a visit to Sweden in August . [via Associated Press/Houston Chronicle]
  • The Palm Beach County’s criminal justice system opened a special court for veterans that’s Division VA, and only the second or third program of its kind in Florida. [via The Sun-Sentinel]
  • A New Jersey career criminal who beat an 82-year-old WWII vet after he refused to hand over his wallet, had his sentence reduced to avoid a retrial. In 2006, Michael Stuart demanded veteran Richard Hyle’s wallet in a stationary store, Hyle replied, “Get a job,” and Stuart punched him in the face. Hyle died not long after the conviction was overturned. [via The Record of Bergen County]


A Fort McPherson, Ga., sergeant was sentenced to a year in prison for stealing thousands of dollars of Army property and reselling it on  eBay. Raymond Hairston, 46, of Decatur, Ga., stole from an Army depot for undeliverable mail, taking military kits, NVG and thermal imaging systems, and sold them to buyers in Italy, Japan and China. His accomplice, Sgt. Erick Rodriguez, 27, of College Park, Ga., was court-martialed and is  serving a 1 year in a military prison. [via Atlanta FBI release and  Fox 5 Atlanta]

  • An Alabama jury deliberated 6 hours before convicting Courtney Lockhart, the homeless PTSD-haunted Iraq vet in the robbery and shooting death of an 18-year-old Auburn freshman. [via CBS News/Associated Press]
  • An Army veteran shot through a peephole by a man in black in Conroe, Tex., has been identified. Police said Jermaine Collier, 20, knocked on the door of Jerome King Lewis, 57, and when pulled back a curtain covering a tiny diamond-shaped window to see who was outside, Collier fired. Collier has a drug history, prosecutors said. [via Houston Chronicle]

A former Fort Jackson, S.C., recruiter who had lectured on drunken driving pleaded guilty in a drunken driving accident that killed two college students. One victim’s sister asked the judge to give Staff Sgt. Jabari Harding the maximum sentence. “He needs to spend the next 65 years in jail, because for the next 65 years, we will hurt for what he did,” she said.   [via WIS-TV]

  • Civilian Army police officer  accused in the fatal shooting of a Siberian husky in a Maryland dog park is going on trial. Keith Shepherd, 32,claims he shot the dog to protect himself, his wife and their dog after the unleashed husky put its jaws around his dog’s neck and the husky’s owners didn’t respond to his requests to control their dog. [via Associated Press/WJZ-TV]
  • Police in Illinois charged retired Col. Wallace Vitel, 50, with assaulting and threatening another driver while there cars were stopped outside the U.S. Army War College. [via WHP-TV]
  • The Brazilian army is holding two soldiers in connection with the shooting of a young gay man following Rio de Janeiro’s pride parade. [via Associated Press/Google]

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