RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- Air Force Staff Sgt. Sean Oliver was found guilty of unpremeditated murder Wednesday in the killing of Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dmitry Chepusov, after two weeks of testimony at a court-martial here.
Oliver had been charged with premeditated murder, but the panel of four officers and six enlisted was allowed to consider lesser charges. Despite the conviction on a lesser charge, he still could face life in prison.
Oliver also was found guilty of obstruction of justice, making false official statements and assault. The penalty phase of the trial is scheduled to start Thursday.
Oliver was charged in Chepusov's death in March last year. German police had found Chepusov's lifeless body in the passenger seat of Oliver's car when they stopped him in the early hours of Dec. 14, 2013 in Kaiserslautern.
German and American pathologists had concluded after separate autopsies that Chepusov, a Navy broadcaster at American Forces Network, had been strangled.
Oliver, an AFN technician, had pleaded not guilty to the charges. During testimony Friday, Oliver acknowledged lying to German and Air Force investigators. Oliver testified that he choked Chepusov after a night of drinking but did not intend to kill him. Oliver said he suspected Chepusov was dead and was on his way to dump the sailor's body when he was pulled over by police.