The Army Blotter: Prison for LTC in Vet's Day "sleepwalk" assault, Birther Col. pleads, and Benning crash victim ID'd [UPDATE: Stewart stabbing victim ID'd]

  • Former Lt. Col. Robert Butts, who claimed he was insane and sleepwalking when police say he broke into an apartment in Iowa on Veterans Day and assaulted a woman, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for kidnapping, among other charges. Butts disrobed the woman at gunpoint, while her terrified sister hid in a closet.”I lost my mind,” the 23-year Army man told the judge. A psychiatrist had testified that a sleepwalking disorder, complicated by PTSD, Gulf War Syndrome, closed head injuries suffered as a child, drinking alcohol, stress at work and depression, led to Butts’ dissociative state. [via Associated Press and The Daily Nonpareil]
  • Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin, who refused to deploy to Afghanistan because he questioned President Barack Obama’s eligibility for office pleaded guilty to one of two charges against him: disobeying orders. Lakin, a 17-year veteran, faces up to 18 months in prison and dismissal when he is sentenced on that charge. The military judge denied a request for President Obama to testify and for his birth certificate to be entered into evidence, so the Birthers–who showed up to support Lakin–consider the court-martial part of the dastardly conspiracy. Lakin himself appeared shaken and defeated. “I understand that it was my decision, and I made the wrong choice,” he told the judge. [via Associated Press/Forbes and New York Times (Maureen Dowd)]
  • Decorated Fort Benning Master Sgt. Christopher L. Surtees, 41, was ID’d as the soldier killed in a motorcycle crash there this week. His motorcycle hit another vehicle, and not the other way around, as was initially reported. Surtees, of Pensacola, Fla., was a Bronze Star recipient with the Maneuver Center of Excellence Headquarters and Headquarters Company. [via Ledger-Enquirer]

  • Off-duty Nevada soldier Nicholas Moody, who served this year with the National Guard’s 221st Cavalry Wildhorse Squadron in Afghanistan, will be heading home in a couple of weeks after his case in the United Arab Emirates for stowing firearm accessories in his luggage was dismissed Monday, his mother said. While in al Wathba, Abu Dhabi’s central prison, he met Persian Gulf War veteran Erik Bergman, of Las Vegas, who was being held for some ammunition that was found in his luggage after he arrived in Abu Dhabi on Nov. 13 to visit his wife, who is a teacher there. Both Moody and Bergman were released on bail from al Wathba earlier this month. [via Las Vegas Review Journal]
  • Houston police are training to defuse amped-up situations with PTSD-suffering vets of Iraq and Afghanistan. About 40 percent of HPD’s patrol officers have received crisis intervention training, which became mandatory for all cadets in 2007. “Most of what we do is very physical, authoritative, commanding … It’s the step back, it’s the patience, it’s allowing people to ventilate,” he said. “It’s almost the opposite, but it works much better.” [via Houston Chronicle]
  • Fort Bragg Spc. Tyler Cain, accused of obstructing justice in the stabbing death of Spc. Morganne McBeth faces an Article 32 hearing today. Spc. Nicholas Bailey, charged with involuntary manslaughter and obstruction of justice in the case, has an Art. 32 on Jan. 4. [via Associated Press/News-Observer]
  • The city council in Berkeley, Calif., backed off plans to formally call Wikileaker Pfc. Bradley Manning a hero because he had neither admitted to nor been convicted of leaking the information. Mayor Tom Bates said, “to proclaim someone a hero or a traitor, I’m not in a position to make that call.” [via Contra Costa Times]
  • Army prosecutors continue to argue that a Stryker soldier accused of killing an Afghan noncombatant can’t submit photos of his alleged victim as evidence at a pretrial hearing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Prosecutors submitted a brief this week to the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, which last last month stopped proceedings against Pfc. Andrew Holmes. His attorneys argued they were constrained in defending him by the Army’s decision to conceal photos of the man he allegedly shot in January. [via The Olympian]
  • I Corps leader Lt. Gen. Curtis “Mike” Scaparrotti, who’s overseeing the court-martial proceedings for Lewis-McChord soldiers accused of war crimes is profiled in the News-Tribune. The West Pointer and son of a 1st Sgt. never dreamed he’d command a corps. He said the post would forge ties with the community, be engaged in the war a long time,  and, oh, about those war crimes trials: “Obviously it’s an important part of what I do, and I provide the time it requires. That’s about all I can say about that.” [via News Tribune]

UPDATE: Fort Stewart releases ID of stabbing victim:

Recently redeployed Soldier who died Dec. 8 identified

(FORT STEWART, Ga.) – The identity of the 3rd Infantry Division Soldier who died of an apparent stab wound here Dec. 8 is now releasable.

The Soldier was SPC Alante L. Whiting, 22, of Westland, Mich.  An intelligence analyst, SPC Whiting was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd ID.  He joined the Army in May 2008.

SPC Whiting was seen bleeding and in distress near his barracks building around 9:30 p.m., Dec. 8, by a commercial delivery person who immediately called Fort Stewart police.  Fort Stewart Emergency Medical Services responded quickly and took the Soldier to Winn Army Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

SPC Whiting had just returned from a twelve month deployment to Iraq approximately 18 hours prior to the incident. After a preliminary investigation, Special agents with the Army Criminal Investigation Command suspect that the stabbing might have been a domestic incident with SPC Whiting as the aggressor.

No further information is available for release at this time.


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