Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members


The Silent Truth: Pfc. LaVena Johnson, US Army

Objective: Provide support to families who have lost loved ones to non combat death, homicide, and suicide. Prevent non combat death, homicide and suicide by providing an expedited transfer option to those who feel like their lives may be in danger

This is a small sample of the many soldiers that have died of non combat deaths, homicide, and suicide. It was hard for me to choose which ones to feature. Given the amount of families who have questioned a ruling of suicide while their loved one was serving in the US military, it’s fair to say that some suicide rulings should have a second look to determine if a homicide was ruled out. It’s important to note that if the cause of death is determined to be suicide, then the military never has to investigate again.

Brief overview of need for expedited transfers for whistleblowers in general:

John Needham and Adam Winfield had a lot in common: they both claim to have witnessed war crimes, one in Iraq, the other in Afghanistan. They both wanted to report the war crimes but didn’t feel safe doing so. They both admitted to feeling like they were set up to die or participate in the war crimes. The only difference: John’s parents were able to get him out of Iraq after he started deteriorating mentally. Adam’s parents were not able to get him out of Afghanistan and he was charged with war crimes after he was set up to participate. On the Dark Side of Al Doura and the Kill Team Movie are must sees because they show the similarity in the cases and reveal how an expedited transfer could have helped them & saved innocent civilian lives. I included a history of crime at the bases they were stationed at to demonstrate that the crime simply follows them overseas.

John Needham, Army (2008):
Retired Army Pvt John Needham Beat Girlfriend Jacqwelyn Villagomez to Death, Then Died of Overdose on Painkillers Awaiting Murder Trial
An Inside Look at Toxic Leadership in the US Army: On the Dark Side in Al Doura, Iraq
Violent Crime, Suicide & Non Combat Death at Fort Carson

Adam Winfield, Army (2010):
Army Soldier Adam Winfield Tried to Report War Crimes But Instead was Charged with War Crimes as Part of ‘The Kill Team’
PBS Documentary ‘The Kill Team’ Nominated for an Emmy
Violent Crime, Suicide & Non Combat at Joint Base Lewis McChord
The Kill Team on Amazon Prime
Violent Crime, Suicide & Non Combat Death at JBLM

Would the expedited transfer help prevent suicide or homicide in these cases?

Alyssa Peterson, Army (2003)

Concerns that Alyssa committed suicide because she didn’t want to participate in war crimes like torture. Could her life have been saved if she felt like she had a way out? Did she commit suicide? Was homicide ruled out?

Gloria Davis, Denise Lannaman, & Marshall Guierrez, Army (2006)

Reports indicate Gloria Davis, Army (2006) committed suicide hours after she provided names and testimony to investigators regarding soldiers involved in a bribery scheme in Kuwait. She was a witness to the crimes and a witness for the prosecution. Did she commit suicide? Was homicide ever considered? How could this have been prevented? She was one of 3 people in the same logistics group in Kuwait tied to the bribery scheme investigation that committed suicide. Both Denise Lannaman, Army (2006) and Lt. Col. Marshall Gutierrez, Army (2006) deaths were ruled suicides as well. Were any of these cases investigated as homicides? Did anyone question why three soldiers from Kuwait tied to one investigation killed themselves?

Suzanne Swift, Army (2006)

Suzanne refused to redeploy for a third time for fear that she would be raped or assaulted this time. She went AWOL instead & was jailed. Could this have been prevented if she had a way out of Fort Lewis? She hadn’t been raped or assaulted yet. She was trying to prevent it given the isolation in Iraq. Does the expedited transfer apply to sexual harassment situations where the offender(s) are escalating? How could we have prevented this? If you look at the history of violent crime at JBLM and in Iraq, you can clearly see why Suzanne Swift was fearful for her life. She chose life and jail over rape and murder.

Genesia Gresham, Navy (2007)

Genesia and Anamarie Camacho were victims of homicide. Genesia was said to have been in a casual relationship with the shooter at one point. Were there red flags prior to the murder? Was the shooters behavior escalating? Does domestic violence, harassment, and stalking qualify for expedited transfer? Could this have been prevented if Genesia had a way out when she realized she may have been in danger? The killer was never jail but instead institutionalized for mental health issues.

Jennifer Valdivia, Navy (2007)

Jennifer was at the center of command investigation of abuse of prisoners in Iraq. It was reported that she did not want to participate in war crimes yet was belittled, harassed, and abused by supervisor if she didn’t do what he asked. If she had a way out, could this suicide have been prevented? Was it a suicide? Was it ever investigated as a homicide?

Kelsey Anderson, USAF (2011)

Kelsey’s family reported that Kelsey’s health deteriorated after she learned that she could not transfer or get out of the military while stationed at Andersen Air Force Base. Why did she want a transfer? Why did she want to get out of the military all of a sudden? Did something happen to make Kelsey feel the need to get out of Guam as quickly as possible? Her death was ruled a suicide. Could this have been prevented if she was allowed to transfer? The Air Force took her gun privileges away shortly after she got to Guam because of mental health concerns. They gave it back to her a month before she died.

Danny Chen, Army (2011)

Danny was being hazed and bullied by fellow soldiers. Could his death have been prevented if he had a way out of this situation? Does the expedited transfer apply to scenarios where an individual is being hazed, harassed, and physically assaulted? Did Danny fear murder? How could this have been prevented so Danny didn’t feel like suicide was the only way out?

Ciara Durkin, Mass Army National Guard (2007)

Ciara found discrepancies in the finance office in Afghanistan & feared that she made enemies. She asked her family to investigate if anything happened to her while in Afghanistan. Could we have saved Ciara’s life if once she realized that crimes may have been committed, she could leave? Ciara was a witness to crime yet had to remain in the setting. Do expedited transfers apply to those who want to report crimes yet cannot do so safely in an isolated location?


I researched the non combat deaths of female soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan and other areas. I was alarmed by what I learned. It appears that close to 30% of the deaths of female soldiers in Iraq alone are from homicide, suicide, or unknown causes. I am working on doing the same research for male soldiers but have been overwhelmed with the number of non combat deaths of male soldiers. I am starting with 2010 to 2016. Then will focus energy on 2001 to 2010.

Non Combat Death of Female Soldiers:
Other Areas


There are many cold cases in the military. The Army has the most cold cases. This list is a small sample of the cold cases in the military. Each case has the same theme. The families feel like they can’t get cooperation from the military to figure out what happened to their loved one. The families are devastated by the loss and traumatized further by the indifference, lack of support, and bureaucracy. If the homicide occurred on a base, they have nowhere to turn but the military because of federal jurisdiction issues. Most civilian cold case investigators ask for other investigators to take a look at cases to give them a fresh set of eyes. New investigators can add additional expertise to help find answers and give families closure. Two must see documentaries highlighting some of the major issues with investigations in the military are The Tillman Story (Pat Tillman) and The Silent Truth (LaVena Johnson).

Cold Cases:
Gorden Hess, Army (1998)
Col Philip Shue (2003)
Lavena Johnson, Army (2005)
Keisha Morgan, Army (2006)
Tina Priest, Army (2006)
Kamisha Block, Army (2007)
Stacy Dryden, USMC (2008)
Blanca Luna, USAF (2008)
Cherie Morton, Navy (2008)
BG Thomas Tinsley, USAF (2008)
Stacy Dryden, USMC (2009)
Anton Phillips, Army (2009)
Amy Seyboth-Tirador (2009)
Sean Wells, Army (2013)
Virginia Caballero, Army (2014)
Shadow McClaine, Army (2016) missing

Cold Cases Solved by NCIS:
Lt Verle Hartley, Navy
Andrew Muns, Navy


Other Areas of Concern:
Kathleen Lipscomb, USAF spouse (1986) Jurisdiction Issues
Walter Smith, USMC (2006) Use of PTSD defense/stigma
Jennifer Cole, Army (2008) Accountability/Investigations
Morganne McBeth, Army (2010) Sentencing/Negligent Homicide
Mikayla Bragg, Army (2011) Mental Health/Suicide/Personnel Records
Kelli Bordeaux, Army (2012) Sex offender registry/Army role
A List of Soldiers Targeted & Murdered for the SGLI
Army Vet Micah Johnson Responsible for Dallas Police Officer Shootings
6 Service Members Currently on Military Death Row at Leavenworth
The US Military Recruited Violent Felons to Support the War Efforts

History of Homicide/Suicide on Military Bases:
Violent Crime, Suicide & Non Combat Death at US Military Bases


  • Expand expedited transfer policy to include whistleblowers (war crimes, hazing, stalking, sex harassment, witnesses to crimes) in an effort to prevent homicide and suicide
  • Creation of cold case squads in the Army & Air Force to investigate homicide & suicide rulings
  • Centralized location for families to call to initiate an investigation of suicide ruling or cold cases, with mental health component
  • Official way to dispute findings of military investigators/medical examiners, ability to request a second independent investigation

The Feres Doctrine prevents soldiers and families from suing the Armed Forces to hold them accountable financially in an effort to force change. Therefore it only seems fair that we give families the support they need when they lose a loved one who is serving in the US military.

We need centralized databases so that records of criminal activity can be more readily tracked to prevent a violent criminal from escalating to homicide. The military is considered one team now and their criminal activity impacts service members in all branches and civilians in the US and other countries. Given the transient population and jurisdiction issues, it only makes sense to utilize the existing FBI national database in an effort to connect crimes committed on bases, overseas, deployed locations, and in the civilian jurisdictions here in the US. The overall goal is to prevent multiple victims and homicide.

Violent Crime, Non Combat Death & Suicide at United States Military Bases


*Research not complete.

My experiences as a victim of crime in the United States military inspired me to do the work I do today as a military justice policy analyst. Not only did I witness first hand how a predator operates but I witnessed multiple predator types in real time while serving my country. If these people committed these acts of crimes at work in the civilian world, they would have been in jail or I would have been rich after taking my employer to civil court. Well maybe not because the deck is stacked against the accuser but we do in fact have a civilian justice system that allows us to hold others accountable, while it simultaneously protects the due process rights of the accused. This cannot be said of the military justice system. There is no guarantee a military Commander will do anything with a crime report let alone process the felony crime effectively. We do not want a justice system where one man or woman decides whether to do nothing, give a non judicial punishment for a felony crime, or railroad the accused or accuser. We do want a justice system where we can hold our employer accountable without roadblocks from the Pentagon, Congress, and the Feres Doctrine. We cannot effectively tackle the violent crime issue in the military until the victims of crimes, like sexual assault and domestic violence, feel safe enough to report. Crime victims have expressed that they do not want to report crimes to a Commander for fear of retaliation. The Department of Defense admitted that of those of who did report the crime, 62% perceived that they faced retaliation. If service members felt safe enough to report, it could help us prevent homicide, suicide, and non combat death.

If we think about violent crime committed by military personnel compared to violent crime statistics in the United States (reference above graph), at first glance it appears the military has a homicide ‘issue’ among the ranks. Please see the below links for a sample of crime on some of the U.S. military bases. All military bases worldwide will eventually be included in this research. And the research for sexual assault, rape, domestic violence, and physical assault specifically has not been conducted yet either. Because the research is far from being complete, it is too early to make any assumptions so I will put the data in one place and let you come to your own conclusions. But if military crime mirrors civilian crime statistics, one can deduce that if the military has a lot of homicide, there is even more rape. Currently the number one concern in the military is a Commander’s ability to give a non judicial punishment for a felony crime. A Commander can bypass the courts martial process simply by punishing and/or discharging the accused with a preponderance of the evidence. This does nothing to protect our military personnel and the civilians who live near our bases in America and worldwide. Predators do not discriminate. They are just as likely to harm civilians as they are military personnel. They know their rights and they know that jurisdiction issues and lack of communication among law enforcement agencies will help prolong getting caught. We need to be one step ahead.

We can’t get real violent crime numbers for the military bases unless we include those who died of non combat deaths while they were deployed. Veterans Noonie Fortin and Ann Wright inspired me to initially look into the non combat deaths of female soldiers overseas because they observed the unusually high number of female soldiers who died of non combat deaths during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their chief concern was that although the military labels a non combat death as a suicide, there are suspicions that some female soldiers were murdered, like LaVena Johnson, Amy Tirador, and Ciara Durkin. I did the research on every single female soldier who died from non combat deaths overseas and their concerns are valid. My research on non combat deaths in Iraq alone revealed that roughly 30% of female soldiers died as a result of homicide, suicide, and other unknown causes. I am working on collecting the data for male soldiers who died from non combat related injuries in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other areas. I started with 2010 so we can get the most recent cases but I will go back to September 11, 2001 in the next phase of data collection. The first male soldier non combat death case I found in 2010 was an unsolved homicide. His name was SSG Anton Phillips and he was stabbed to death in Afghanistan. Further research in this area has uncovered that non combat deaths of male soldiers are just as prevalent.

Learn more:
The US Military Recruited Violent Felons to Support the War Efforts
Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the US Military (Afghanistan)
Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the US Military (Iraq)
Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the US Military (Other Areas)
Violent Crime, Non Combat Death & Suicide at Fort Bragg, North Carolina (US Army)
Violent Crime, Non Combat Death & Suicide at Fort Campbell, Kentucky (US Army)
Violent Crime, Non Combat Death & Suicide at Fort Carson, Colorado (US Army)
Violent Crime, Non Combat Death & Suicide at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington
Violent Crime, Non Combat Death & Suicide at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas
Violent Crime at Fort Wainwright, Alaska (US Army)
Violent Crime at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska
A List of Soldiers Targeted & Murdered for the Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance Benefits
Rep Nikki Tsongas & Rep Mike Turner Host Educational Caucus: Improving Treatment Resources for Male Survivors of Military Sexual Trauma
An Open Letter to the Senate and House of Representatives in Support of the Military Justice Improvement Act
Letter of Support for Save Our Heroes in Our Shared Quest for Military Justice Reform & Constitutional Rights

The Silent Truth: The Rape, Murder & Military Cover-Up of Army Pfc LaVena Johnson in Iraq

Ninety-four US military women in the military have died in Iraq or during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). ‘The Silent Truth’ tells the story of one of these women, PFC LaVena Lynn Johnson, who was found dead on Balad Air Force Base in Iraq. The army claimed she shot herself with her own M16 rifle, but forensic evidence, obtained by the Johnson family through the Freedom of Information Act, brings the army’s findings into question. The Army refuses to re-open LaVena Johnson’s case, leaving the family in limbo. ‘The Silent Truth’ follows the Johnson’s pursuit of justice and truth for their daughter. -The Silent Truth

What happened to LaVena Lynn Johnson and so many others speaks to a Pentagon culture which more closely resembles a rogue government–than a legitimate branch serving under civilian control. It is highly telling that this family, along with the Tillman family each had to have a documentary film made JUST TO ALERT THE PUBLIC TO THE TRUTH OF PENTAGON COVER-UPS. I urge everyone to view this important documentary–before the local military recruiter mandated under No Child Left Behind–‘friends’ their child at school. God forbid, they could wind up coming home in a body bag–like LaVena. –Truthout

Learn more:
The Silent Truth on YouTube
The Silent Truth on Amazon Video
Army Pfc LaVena Johnson Died of Non Combat Related Injuries in Iraq, Death Ruled Suicide But Autopsy Report Revealed Rape & Murder (2005)
Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the US Military (Iraq)
Violent Crime, Suicide & Non Combat Death at Fort Campbell, Kentucky (US Army)
The Silent Truth Documentary aka The LaVena Johnson Murder Cover-Up
What Really Happened to Pat Tillman?
Pat Tillman: The US Army Murder Scandal

Letter of Support for Save Our Heroes in Our Shared Quest for Military Justice Reform & Constitutional Rights


October 1, 2016

U.S. House of Representatives
United States Senate
Washington, DC

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a letter of support for Save Our Heroes. We recognized immediately that Save Our Heroes and victims of crimes both want similar changes in the military justice system. Save Our Heroes is asking for three specific legislative/policy changes to restore fundamental fairness in the military justice system:

1. Remove all Commanders authority from decision-making in the legal system.
2. The number of panel members should be increased to 12 for General Courts Martial.
3. Any conviction at Courts Martial shall require a unanimous verdict.

These requests by Save Our Heroes are similar to the overall changes that victims of crimes in the military have lobbied for, specifically that Commanders be removed from the reporting and decision-making process because of fear of bias, lack of investigative training, and the power to discharge and/or punish with the stroke of a pen. Save Our Heroes is requesting the same changes because ultimately both the victims and accused are looking for a military justice system that mirrors the civilian justice system while respecting the need of the Commanding Officer to ensure discipline is maintained within their command. We want a justice system where crimes are reported to legal authorities and not a Commander who is an authority figure with the power to impact your entire life. We want a justice system where crimes will be investigated thoroughly by unbiased military criminal investigative organizations looking for the truth. We want a justice system that provides the same constitutional rights as those provided in the civilian justice system. Save Our Heroes is specifically asking for changes that are commonplace in the civilian justice system, like a jury of twelve of our peers and a unanimous verdict. Our military deserves no less.

Victims of crimes in the military are asking for a military justice system that provides due process for the accuser and the accused. Crime victims want the ability to go to trial based on an independent prosecutor’s decision to charge because there was sufficient evidence to move forward with a case. Crime victims want those people who level false accusations, and engage in other abuses of the process, to be held accountable. While we recognize that false reports represent a small percentage of total reports (between 2-8 percent based on Bureau of Justice Statistics data), those who do falsely accuse are hurting the real victims of these crimes and should be held accountable through the same impartial military justice system. Both the accusers and the accused are asking for due process, which is best accomplished by a system that mirrors the civilian justice system. Currently, Commanders have control of the process when the accused, accuser, defense attorneys, and prosecutors should have control over the process.


Jennifer Norris, Military Justice for All
Stephanie Schroeder, US Human Rights Network & UN Board Member
Brian Lewis, Men Recovering from Military Sexual Trauma

Violent Crime, Suicide & Non Combat Death at Fort Campbell, Kentucky (US Army)


*This research is not complete.

In February and March 2003, the Division deployed to Kuwait in anticipation of combat operations against Saddam Hussein’s regime.  In a grueling air and ground movement of 570 kilometers through hostile territory and intense combat in urban areas, the Division exhibited its flexibility, lethality and firepower at every turn. Fighting its way from Najaf, through Karbala and Hillah, the Division eventually consolidated in Southern Baghdad in mid-April, 2003. Ordered to Northern Iraq shortly thereafter, the Division conducted the longest air assault in history and quickly assumed responsibility for Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, and the four surrounding provinces. In the months that followed, the Division concentrated on the goals of re-establishing security, the restoration of basic services, and reconstruction of civilian infrastructure. Learn more history here.

Dhaifal Ali, US Army (2016): Drowning

Seth Brabant, US Army veteran (2016): Homicide Victim

Jeffrey Cooper, US Army (2016): Non Combat Death, Kuwait

MarStratton Gordon, US Army (2016): Homicide Victim

Kyle Heade, US Army (2016): Charged with Theft/Attempted Homicide

Shadow McClaine, US Army (2016): Missing

Zachary James-Earl Ponder, US Army (2016): Charged with Homicide

Marcus Rogers, US Army (2016): Under Investigation

Deashawn Thomas, US Army (2016): Homicide/Suicide

Katelyn Thomas, US Army spouse (2016): Homicide Victim

Zackery Alexander, US Army (2015): Charged with Homicide

Joseph Bankston, US Army dependent (2015): Homicide Victim

Liperial Easterling, US Army (2015): Homicide Victim

Terrence Harwell, US Army (2015): Homicide Victim

Cornell Hurley Jr, US Army (2015): Homicide

Kevin Rodriguez, US Army (2015): Training Accident

Chelcee Sine-Garza, US Army (2015): Attempted Homicide Victim

Annely Turner, US Army spouse (2015): Attempted Homicide

Malcolm Turner, US Army (2015): Attempted Homicide

David Wi, US Army (2015): Charged with Homicide

Christian Martin (2014): Mishandling Classified Info/Simple Assault

Robbie Knight, US Army (2012): Homicide

Frederic Moses, US Army (2012): Homicide Victim

Jeremy Priddy, Civilian (2012): Homicide Victim

Nery Ruiz, US Army (2012): Sexual Abuse/Sodomy of Child

Benjamin Schweitzer, US Army (2012): Reckless Homicide

Michael Korolevich, US Army (2011): Homicide

Kathleen McGee, US Army spouse (2011): Homicide Victim

Linzi Jenks, US Army spouse (2010): Homicide Victim

Robert Jenks III, US Army (2010): Homicide

Ashley Barnes, US Army (2009): Homicide Victim

Khaleefa Lambert, US Army (2009): Homicide

Tracy Birkman, US Army (2008): Non Combat Death, Iraq

Jennifer Cole, US Army (2008): Negligent Homicide, Iraq

Brent Burke, US Army (2007): Homicide

Tracy Burke, US Army spouse (2007): Homicide Victim

Karen Comer, US Army family (2007): Homicide Victim

Steven Green, US Army (2006): Rape/Homicide of Iraqi Civilian

LaVena Johnson, US Army (2005): Death Ruled Suicide, Iraq

Hasan Akbar, US Army (2003): Homicide/Death Sentence

Barry Winchell, US Army (1999): Homicide Victim

Laura Cecere, US Army (1996): Homicide Victim

Max Roybal, US Army spouse (1996): Acquitted of Homicide

David Housler Jr, US Army (1994): Homicide Conviction Overturned

Rep Nikki Tsongas & Rep Mike Turner Host Educational Caucus: Improving Treatment Resources for Male Survivors of Military Sexual Trauma


Dr. Susan J. McCutcheon, Director of Family Services, Women’s Mental Heath, and Military Sexual Trauma, Department of Veterans Affairs

Learn more:
Strength & Recovery: Men Overcoming Military Sexual Trauma
Men: You are Not Alone in Overcoming Military Sexual Trauma
Department of Veterans Affairs, Military Sexual Trauma


Dr. Judith L. Johnson, Consulting Clinical Psychologist, The Lewis B. Puller Jr. Veterans Benefit Clinic, William and Mary Law School

Learn more: Lewis B. Puller, Jr. Veterans Benefits Clinic, William & Mary Law School


Diana Rangoussis, Senior Policy Advisor, Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Office (SAPRO)

Learn more: Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Office

Learn more: Brian Lewis, US Navy Veteran & President and Co-Founder of Men Recovering from Military Sexual Trauma

Learn more: Bob Hunter, US Navy Veteran & Vice President of Men Recovering from Military Sexual Trauma

Part 2: Bob Hunter, US Navy Veteran


Heath Phillips, US Navy Veteran & Executive Director of Men Recovering from Military Sexual Trauma

Learn more: Heath Phillips, Active Duty Military & Veterans Advocate, a Voice for Male Victims of Crime


Related Links:
Turner and Tsongas host briefing on Male Military Sexual Assault to give victims a voice
Colonel Doug James (ret), Chairman of “Save Our Heroes” is a “Wingman” for Change!
Veterans Benefits Clinic Highlights Problem of Male Sexual Trauma in the Military
‘It savaged my life’: military sexual assault survivors fighting to become visible
Men Recovering from Military Sexual Trauma (Mr. MST)
Military Sexual Trauma: Prevalent and Under Treated

A List of Soldiers Targeted & Murdered for the Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance Benefits (SGLI)


This research is not complete. As a matter of fact, it has only just begun. This list was created as a result of one google search and the discovery of a few cases as research is conducted in other areas. The majority of these murder for life insurance cases are examples of civilian women targeting mostly Army soldiers. Criminals are in fact targeting soldiers for lifetime benefits including monthly financial benefits, housing, medical, and the Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance. The best armor is education. If it seems too good to be true then it probably is. If it appears that your significant other is especially interested in financial matters despite just meeting them, red flag. If they appear adept in how the military works and begin controlling you by threatening to go to your Commander, is that love? How many other soldiers did they marry or date before you? Often we want to overlook things for the sake of peace and the benefit of the children involved. Is it fair that you are an after thought and all that really matters is your paycheck? Be careful of who you let in your world and who you marry. Most of these cases involve a woman targeting a male soldier. Was there substance abuse and/or domestic abuse prior to the final act of homicide? Did they verbally threaten the soldier’s life? Did the soldier feel trapped because they had nowhere to turn without risking their career? How can we prevent these crimes from happening in the future?

All our soldiers need a safe place to turn if they suddenly realize they are trapped in a situation they didn’t bargain for. Spouses literally have a license to abuse on a federal military base. The Commander cannot hold them accountable because they are civilians. Civilian authorities do not have jurisdiction on federal bases. Who holds civilian spouses accountable on federal bases for crimes against soldiers? How often is the soldier punished and held accountable for the spouse’s behavior? Will reporting these crimes mean risking losing their career? Are our male soldiers afraid they won’t be believed or they will be belittled by their Chain of Command and Commander? The spouses who have you murdered in the end for the life insurance are the same spouses that will level false allegations against you, use the children as a weapon, and blow your money while you are fighting wars and risking your life in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our soldiers need a safe way to exit domestic abuse situations without worrying about this same spouse lying to the Commander to manipulate the narrative. This is why seasoned investigators would benefit our soldiers to help evaluate and assess the situation in an effort to keep people safe and prevent further harm. We cannot ‘believe all women’ as evidenced by the female perpetrators in the majority of these life insurance motivated homicide cases. As of now we are dependent on the assessment of one Commander. It all depends on who can tell the best sob story. You have a 50/50 chance at justice in the military if you are dealing with some kind of sociopath hell bent on revenge because you rejected them. Is this why soldiers are not reporting domestic abuse and instead ending up dead?

In Their Name:
Kenneth Barnes, US Army (Fort Gordon, Georgia, 1972)*
Lee Hartley, US Navy (Jacksonville, Florida, 1982)*
Bill Lipscomb, US Air Force (Lackland AFB, Texas, 1986)
Anthony Riggs, US Army (Fort Bliss, Texas, 1991)*
David Russo, US Navy (Lemoore Naval Air Station, California, 1994)*
Elise Makdessi, US Navy (NAS Oceana, Virginia, 1996)*
Kevin Spann, US Army (Fort Gordon, Georgia, 1997)*
Marty Theer, US Air Force (Fayetteville, North Carolina, 2000)*
Lynn Reister, US Army (Fort Bliss, Texas, 2002)*
David Shannon, US Army (Fort Bragg, North Carolina, 2002)*
Jeremy Meyers, US Army (Fort Lewis, Washington, 2003)
Gary Prokop, US Army (Fort Hood, Texas, 2003)*
Paul Berkley, US Navy Reserve (Raleigh, North Carolina, 2005)*
Michael Severance, US Air Force (Dyess AFB, Texas, 2005)*
Donald Gower, US Army (Fort Hood, Texas, 2007)
Travis McGraw, US Air Force Reserve (Saluda, North Carolina, 2011)
Isaac Aguigui, US Army (Fort Stewart, Georgia, 2014)*
Alphonso Doss, US Navy (Orange Park, Florida, 2014)*
John Eubanks, US Army (Fort Stewart, Georgia, 2014)*
Brandon Horst, US Army (Minnesota National Guard, 2014)*
Michael Andrews, US Army (Fort Benning, Georgia, 2015)*
Dmitry Chepusov, US Navy (Armed Forces Network, Germany, 2015)*
Jonathan & Lenin Otero, US Army (Florida National Guard, 2015)
Nathan Paet, US Air Force (Nellis AFB, Nevada, 2015)*
Elizabeth Shelton, US Navy (Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, 2015)*
Michael Walker, US Army (Aliamanu Military Reservation, Hawaii, 2015)
David Wi, US Army (Fort Campbell, Kentucky, 2015)

The asterisk (*) denotes that the soldier was a victim of homicide or attempted homicide for the insurance money.

Six Service Members Currently on Military Death Row at Fort Leavenworth, Army Private John Bennett was Last Military Execution by Hanging in 1961

US Army

John Bennett, US Army (Austria)

A look at the last U.S. soldier executed by the military (1961)


Timothy Hennis, US Army (Fort Bragg, North Carolina)

Timothy Hennis, US Army, Sentenced to Death by Military Court for the Murders of Air Force Spouse Kathryn Eastburn & Two of her Three Children (1985)


Ronald Gray, US Army (Fort Bragg, North Carolina)

Ronald Gray, US Army, Sentenced to Death by Military Court for the Rape & Murder of Army Private Laura Vickery-Clay & Civilian Kimberly Ruggles (1986)


Dwight Loving, US Army (Fort Hood, Texas)

Dwight Loving, US Army, Sentenced to Death by Military Court for the Robbery & Murder of Army Pvt Christopher Fay & Retired Army Master Sgt Bobby Sharbino (1988)


Hasan Akbar, US Army (Fort Bragg, North Carolina)

Sergeant Hasan Akbar, US Army, Sentenced to Death by Military Court for a Grenade & Rifle Attack on Fellow Soldiers in Kuwait Resulting in Two Deaths & Several Injuries (2003)


Andrew Witt, US Air Force (Robins AFB, Georgia)

Andrew Witt, US Air Force, Sentenced to Death by Military Court for the Murders of Jamie & Andy Schliepsiek at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia (2004)


Major Nidal Hasan, US Army (Fort Hood, Texas)

Major Nidal Hasan, US Army, Sentenced to Death by Military Court for Opening Fire & Killing 12 Unarmed Soldiers and 1 DoD Employee at Fort Hood, Texas (2009)

Devon Faulkner, US Navy, Died of a Non Combat-Related Injury While Underway on the USS Wasp in the Mediterranean Sea (2016)

US Navy

Devon Faulkner, US Navy

Aviation Boatswain’s Mate Devon Faulkner, US Navy, died of a non combat related injury while underway on September 20, 2016. Devon Faulkner was supporting Operation Odyssey Lightning on behalf of the USS Wasp (LHD 1) forward deployed in the central Mediterranean Sea. According to the Department of Defense, the incident is under investigation.

Related Links:
Department of Defense Identifies Navy Casualty
U.S. Navy sailor dies of non-combat injury off Libya
Sailor aboard locally based ship dies overseas
Navy Sailor dies while deployed on Norfolk-based USS Wasp
US Navy sailor from NC dies during Mediterranean operation
Sailor Dies While Supporting ISIS Airstrikes in Mediterranean
Sailor dies aboard USS Wasp in Mediterranean Sea
Injured USS Wasp sailor dies while underway in Mediterranean Sea
Department of Defense identifies Raleigh, NC Navy casualty
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Army Soldier Shadow McClaine Reported Missing After Not Showing Up for Court & Duty at Fort Campbell, Kentucky (2016)

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