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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, February 19, 2010

Hearing ends for Schofield soldier over Iraq shooting

Advertiser Staff

A grand jury-like hearing into a fatal shooting in Iraq involving a Schofield Barracks Army soldier concluded yesterday following three days of oral testimony.

Three-time Iraq war veteran Spc. Beyshee Velez faced the Article 32 hearing, which began Tuesday at Wheeler Army Airfield.

Velez is accused of fatally shooting Lucas Vinson of Leesville, La., on a U.S. base near Tikrit in September.

The hearing allowed the investigating officer, Lt. Col. Payton L. Sims, to investigate the charges against Velez, to consider the form of the charges and to secure information to determine what disposition should be made in the case in the interest of justice and discipline.

Sims now needs to complete a written report and submit it to the appointing commander, Col. Walter Piatt, the commander of the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.

Piatt will then forward a copy of the report to the defense, which will have five days to comment on it. After that, the report, along with any defense comments, will be sent to the 25th Infantry Division commanding general who will determine what, if any, charges will be referred to a court-martial.