Two Indicted in Fort Stewart Soldier's Death

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(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Two former soldiers have been indicted on charges in the stabbing death of another soldier on a Georgia military base, according to court documents unsealed Monday.

Byron Booker, 28, of Ludowici and Jordan Brown, 21, of St. Marys are charged in the death of Specialist Austin J. Hawke, 24, at Fort Stewart.

Booker is charged with premeditated murder and murder of an armed services member. Booker and Brown are charged with felony murder; assault on an armed services member; burglary; and conspiracy to retaliate and retaliation against a witness. If convicted, both men could face the death penalty.

The 21-page indictment alleges Booker and Brown conspired to commit the offenses against Hawke in retaliation for Hawke reporting Booker to Army leadership for "poor leadership, poor military performance, and maltreatment of subordinates" prior to Booker's Army discharge, and in retaliation for Hawke reporting Brown for drug use during his service.

The indictment said Booker and Brown discussed "silencing" Hawke, and discussed Brown providing Booker with a key to access Hawke's room. The indictment alleges Booker drove from his home on June 17, 2020, to Fort Stewart and entered the base on foot before walking to Hawke's barracks.

The indictment then alleges Booker killed Hawke by "stabbing, cutting, and slashing" him with an edged weapon, and afterward Booker disposed of the clothing and shoes he was wearing at the time.

Booker has been in custody since June 18, 2020. Brown was taken into custody after a U.S. District Court grand jury returned the indictment during its April 2021 term. Both defendants await further legal proceedings.

"It is a high priority for our office to pursue justice for members of the military who are victims of violent crime," said David Estes, acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.

This article is written by Tim Darnell from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@industrydive.com.

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