The Army Blotter: Deserter's desperate leap, mine-toting wannabe to plead, 'terrorist' charge in EOD grandma scare

  • Deputies in Tennessee were on a manhunt Tuesday night for an AWOL Fort Campbell soldier who allegedly kidnapped a 19-year-old girl and led them on a high speed chase before he jumped from his vehicle. The girl was unharmed, but police said the soldier, Kenneth Frank Antonick, 20, was probably injured. [via Leaf-Chronicle]
  • A wannabe soldier so convincing his own family believed he was set to deploy to war plans to plead guilty to federal charges he stole high-tech military gear at Fort Gordon. Todd Saxon, 35, was arrested at the installation last June after he wore a combat uniform and master sergeant’s rank and possessed  military gear, including a live anti-personnel mine, though he had been discharged from the military 16 years earlier. Saxon’s attorney has said that, despite his obsession with the military, there’s no evidence he intended to harm anyone.  [Associated Press/Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
  • The 28-year old EOD student, Jose Chavez, who told his friend’s grandmother he put explosives under her house has been charged with making terrorist threats by police in Enterprise, Ala.  [via Associated Press/WZTV News]
  • Cpl. Emmitt Quintal, 22, who cooperated with an Army war crimes investigation, will face a court-martial today at Joint Base Lewis-McChord over charges that he participated in beating up a fellow soldier and used drugs during his deployment to Afghanistan. Sworn statements obtained by The News Tribune show that Quintal said he witnessed Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs threaten Pfc. Justin Stoner and rolled three fingers taken from an Afghan corpse in front of the private. “At that point, I kind of lost my head,” Quintal said. [via The News-Tribune]
  • Abdulhakim Muhammad, charged with killing a soldier and wounding another at an Arkansas recruiting center in 2009, is telling a judge he wants to fire his attorneys and represent himself. [via The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette]
  • Fort Bragg Spc. Jason Gregory Taft, 22, was indicted in a drunken driving wreck that killed Felipe Ramirez, a 27-year-old soldier in the 44th Medical Brigade whose motorcycle he struck head-on. [via Fayetteville Observer]
  • Fort Bliss Commanding General Dana Pittard released a statement police arreste two soldiers over the New Year holiday weekend–one who allegedly broke a police officer’s nose and the other in a fatal drunken driving crash: “Discipline is the cornerstone of military readiness. Each day 25,000 Fort Bliss Soldiers proudly serve our Nation. Only about 1% of Soldiers ever have brushes with the law; we consider them outliers. Those accused of serious crimes are afforded fair legal proceedings. We encourage Soldiers to make positive life choices and expect our troops to be good citizens—the overwhelming majority serves honorably each day.” [via KFOX-TV]
  • A 59-year-old nursing assistant was arrested Tuesday on charges she exploited an elderly veteran of more than $83,000 before he died. Joan Scott allegedly befriended the victim, whose age was not given, while he was a patient at the Veteran Affair’s Sierra Nevada Hospital. Once the man was released, she began to do household chores and obtained access to his bank accounts  by forging checks and withdrawing money from ATM machines–all before his July death. [via Reno Gazette-Journal]
  • A Michigan judge ruled the attorney for an Ohio man convicted of robbing and brutally beating a World War II veteran during a 2008 home invasion was not ineffective at trial. One of the men convicted in the beating John Pickett, then 83, made the argument as part of his plans to appeal in an effort to get a new trial. [via Livingston County Press]

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