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Pretrial Hearing Ends for GIs Charged in Murder Case

  • Sgt. Jamal Williams-McCray, left, and Spc. Charles Robinson may face court-martial in the kidnapping and murder of Pfc. Shadow McClaine.
    Sgt. Jamal Williams-McCray, left, and Spc. Charles Robinson may face court-martial in the kidnapping and murder of Pfc. Shadow McClaine.
  • Shadow McClaine (Photo: www.cid.army.mil)
    Shadow McClaine (Photo: www.cid.army.mil)

Army officials at Fort Campbell in Kentucky recently concluded a pretrial hearing for two 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) soldiers accused of kidnapping and murdering a female 101st soldier.

The Article 32 preliminary hearing to decide whether Sgt. Jamal Williams-McCray and Spc. Charles Robinson will face courts-martial was held Monday and Tuesday, just over two months after the skeletal remains of 25-year-old Pfc. Shadow McClaine were discovered in Tennessee in late January.

McClaine had been missing since last September.

"Williams-McCray is charged with Article 81 (Conspiracy to commit the charges of kidnapping and murder), Article 118 (Premeditated Murder), Article 120 (Rape), Article 128 (Aggravated Assault), Article 134 (Kidnapping), and Article 134 (Obstruction of Justice)," according to a Fort Campbell press release.

"Robinson is charged with Article 81 (Conspiracy to commit the charges of kidnapping and murder), Article 118 (Premeditated Murder), Article 134 (Kidnapping) and Article 134 (Obstruction of Justice)."

Williams-McCray, 25, arrived at Fort Campbell in October 2012. Robinson, 24, arrived in May 2013. McClaine arrived at Campbell in June 2013, according to base officials.

The Leaf-Chronicle reports that Williams-McCray is McClaine's ex-husband, but Fort Campbell officials would not confirm this.

The first day of proceedings ended with U.S. Army Reserve officer and Military Judge Lt. Col. James Ewing, who served as the preliminary hearing officer, directing the government to provide copies of evidence to the defense which included: audio tapes of telephone calls made by Robinson while confined in the Montgomery County Jail, video-taped interviews of Williams-McCray conducted by Army CID agents, and surveillance footage from a parking lot where McClaine's vehicle was discovered, according to the release.

The defense also made a motion for a continuance requesting that the hearing remain open "until the DNA test results for alleged blood and hair found in Robinson's vehicle, among other items, was completed, as well as the medical examiner's report from Shadow McClain's autopsy," according to the release.

Ewing denied the request continuance at the end of the second day of the proceedings.

The lead defense counsel for Williams-McCray, Maj. Jason Marquez, and the lead defense counsel for Robinson, Ernesto Gapasin, argued the case is still in the middle of its investigation and factual evidence to charge their clients with murder is incomplete or insufficient, the release states.

Maj. Rebecca Farrell, the government counsel, replied that there is indeed sufficient evidence to continue with the general courts-martial, the release states.

At the conclusion of the hearing, Ewing said he would review all evidence and the transcript before making his recommendation on how to proceed with the case to Maj. Gen. Andrew Poppas, commanding general for the 101st Airborne Division and Fort Campbell, the release states.

-- Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.

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Army Crime