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Platoon Sergeant Faces Court-Martial In Death Of Pvt. Danny Chen

Pvt. Danny Chen (credit: CBS 2)

Pvt. Danny Chen (credit: CBS 2)

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FORT BRAGG, N.C. (CBSNewYork/AP) – A platoon sergeant from Texas is facing a court-martial in connection with the death of a 19-year-old soldier in Afghanistan last year.

Staff Sgt. Blaine G. Dugas Jr. of Port Arthur, Texas, faces a court-martial Thursday at Fort Bragg.

The 36-year-old Dugas is accused of failing to prevent the mistreatment and abuse that officials say led to Pvt. Danny Chen’s suicide.

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.

Defense attorney Guy Womack says Dugas had no knowledge of any hazing or mistreatment of Chen.

Two other soldiers already have been tried in the case.

Last month, Sgt. Adam Holcomb was convicted of mistreating Chen days before Chen’s suicide, but he was acquitted of being a cause of Chen’s death. He was found guilty of maltreatment of a subordinate and assault consummated by battery.

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.”

Holcomb was sentenced to 30 days in a military prison, demotion of one rank and forfeiture of more than $1,100 in pay.

On Monday, Spc. Ryan J. Offutt pleaded guilty to one count of hazing and two specifications of maltreatment.

He was sentenced to six months in prison. Offutt will also be demoted to private and receive a bad conduct discharge. He faced several charges, including negligent homicide.

A total of eight soldier have been charged in connection with Chen’s death.

The defendants in the case were members of the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division based at Fort Wainwright, Alaska.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)