FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (CBSNewYork/AP) — An Army sergeant found guilty of maltreatment and assault has been sentenced to 30 days in prison, demoted to specialist and forced to forfeit one month’s pay for his role in the alleged racial hazing and suicide of Pvt. Danny Chen.
A 10-member military jury sentenced Sgt. Adam Holcomb of Youngstown, Ohio, on Tuesday morning. The jury on Monday found him guilty of maltreatment of a subordinate and assault consummated by battery, but cleared him of the most serious charge — negligent homicide.
WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reports
Holcomb faced a maximum of up to two years in prison and a dishonorable discharge. The forfeiture in pay amounts to a little more than $1,000.
Chen, of Chinatown, shot himself on Oct. 3, 2011 in Afghanistan after weeks of racial slurs, humiliation and physical abuse by his colleagues, military officials said.
Military prosecutors said Holcomb and seven other soldiers charged in Chen’s death physically and emotionally abused the 19-year-old. The charges range from dereliction of duty to assault, negligent homicide and involuntary manslaughter.
The jurors concluded that Holcomb assaulted Chen by pulling him out of bed and across large rocks. They found Holcomb guilty of maltreatment for calling Chen “Dragon Lady.”
The defense called Holcomb an American hero and argued Chen was an incompetent soldier who killed himself because his family disowned him.
Prosecutors argued that Holcomb needed to be punished as an example to other soldiers.
1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reports
Elizabeth OuYang, president of the New York chapter of the Organization of Chinese Americans, said the sentence is simply not enough and tarnishes the Army’s reputation.
“A 30-day confinement hardly equates with Pvt. Danny Chen’s life being cut short,” OuYang told WCBS 880’s Jim Smith. “Asian-American parents will be petrified to send their sons and daughters to the Army.”
The second of eight courts-martial in Chen’s death is scheduled for August 13.
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