Pvt. Chen Courts-Martial to Begin Next Week


The first of eight courts-martial related to a soldier's suicide in Afghanistan last year is scheduled to begin next week on Fort Bragg.

Sgt. Adam Holcomb is charged in the death of Pvt. Danny Chen, a 19-year-old soldier from New York who is believed to have shot himself in a guard tower.

Holcomb's trial is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. July 24, according to Fort Bragg. The case is expected to last through July 27.

Holcomb is charged with negligent homicide, reckless endangerment, communicating a threat, assault, two counts of maltreatment of a subordinate, dereliction of duty and four counts of violating a lawful general regulation.

Chen died in Afghanistan on Oct. 3, , according to officials.

He allegedly suffered racial taunts and physical abuse at the hands of soldiers in his company and eventually shot himself in a guard tower at Combat Outpost Palace near Kandahar.

Holcomb is one of eight soldiers in Chen's unit who have been charged.

All of the soldiers are assigned to the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division from Fort Wainwright, Alaska, but were under the command of a Fort Bragg general in Afghanistan.

The trials have been moved to Fort Bragg at the request of Maj. Gen. James Huggins, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division and Regional Command South in Afghanistan.

Fort Bragg approved the move earlier this year.

If convicted, Holcomb faces up to 17 years and nine months in prison, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, reduction in rank and a dishonorable discharge.

The other courts-martial are slated to begin in the next few months. The other soldiers facing charges are 1st Lt. Daniel Schwartz, Staff Sgt. Blaine Dugas, Staff Sgt. Andrew Van Bockel, Sgt. Jeffrey Hurst, Sgt. Travis Carden, Spc. Thomas Curtis and Spc. Ryan Offutt. 

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