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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Thursday, June 3, 2004

General to review murder charge

By Peter Boylan
Advertiser Staff Writer

All evidence in the case of Pfc. Edward L. Richmond Jr., a Schofield Barracks soldier charged with murder in the shooting death of an Iraqi cowherd, will be forwarded to an Army general this week.

Maj. Gen. John R.S. Batiste will then act on a recommendation made by an Army investigator and evidence provided by Richmond's attorney to determine whether Richmond will be court-martialed. In addition to that decision, Batiste will determine what specific charges, if any, Richmond will face.

On May 1, Richmond's attorney, Capt. Jennifer Crawford, was granted a delay in the case to gather more evidence and conduct an administrative board. Administrative boards are routinely held in the military to review training records, personnel records, medical records and a soldier's potential for promotion.

Crawford has finished her work and will forward her findings to Batiste, Maj. Neal O'Brien, an Army spokesman, said.

On April 8, Richmond was charged with one count of unpremeditated murder under Article 118 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Richmond is assigned to Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment.

O'Brien said a formal investigation into the shooting was convened and concluded. He said the investigating officer forwarded a recommendation, but the recommendation could not be released to the public.

For Richmond to be court-martialed, the investigating officer has to recommend it. A court-martial is the civilian equivalent of an indictment.

There are few details about the shooting. The Army would not disclose specifics.

On Feb. 28, 1-27 soldiers were conducting a morning search for known terrorists around Al Huwijah — a city of more than 85,000 people, mostly Sunni Muslims, about 40 miles southwest of Kirkuk.

According to reports, the middle-age Iraqi man was running and "resisting apprehension," but the Army did not elaborate.

Richmond, 20, a native of Gonzales, La., had his weapons confiscated and is suspended from active duty but is not being detained, said his father, Edward Richmond Sr. He said his son is at the Kirkuk Air Base.

"We all just wish that it was over with and that it never had to come to this, but I guess it has," the father said. "We stand behind our son 100 percent. He wouldn't have done anything like that to harm anyone in the first place."

Reach Peter Boylan at 535-8110 or pboylan@honoluluadvertiser.com.