Serving in Silence: Survey Shows Only One Dishonorable Discharge for Sexual Assault in the National Guard

National Guardby Tisha Thompson

ONE-FIFTH OF THE NATION’S MILITARY ISN’T PROTECTED BY REFORMS…

What happens to those accused of rape or sexual assault in the National Guard varies dramatically depending on what state you work in.

The National Guard is unlike any other branch of the military. Serving as the state militia, the governor is the commander in chief, not the president. During wartime or when they are sent overseas for a federal mission, guardsmen become federalized under Title 10 and receive all the benefits and protections offered by the U.S. Army or Air Force.

Read more here.

Related Links:
National Guard Bureau’s Response to NBC4ITeam Survey (June 22, 2015)
Serving in Silence: Two-Star General Wants to Change How National Guard Deals With Sexual Assaults (April 2015)
Military Sexual Assault Testimony to Congress in January 2013 (National Guard & AD)
Military Women: We Got Fired for Being Raped
CA Military Sexual Assault Bill Becomes Law

Fear Thy Neighbor Premiered ‘Homeowner Hell’ on Investigation Discovery: Donald Easley Killed 2 Property Owners, Kenneth Vaughn & Laron Estes (June 29, 2015)

ID Go: A couple settles in Josephine County, Oregon, where they learn their new neighbor has a deadly past. Now, as relations sour and tempers flare, blood will be spilled on this land…. -Homeowner Hell, Fear Thy Neighbor (S2, E11)

Date: September 7, 2013
Victim: Laron Estes, 59, Army veteran, former industrial welder, disabled
Offender: Donald Easley, 64, Army veteran (two tours), disabled
Location: Kerby, Oregon (Josephine County)
Circumstances: Laron collected junk & it annoyed neighbors, Laron cut down an apple tree for no reason, Donald killed his former neighbor, Laron’s dogs were barking all the time, Laron didn’t like cats in his vegetable garden, Donald put up lights for his mother’s safety but they were shining on Laron’s property & too bright, Laron put up plastic barrier to block light, Donald installed another light shining on Laron’s property, Donald started his diesel truck in the middle of the night and left it running for an hour or more, someone shot out Donald’s lights (they suspected Laron did it), Donald calls sheriff but Laron denies he shot out the lights, Donald had 13 security lights aimed at Laron’s windows and they couldn’t sleep, someone wounded two of Donald’s mom’s cats with pellet gun, Laron denies harming animals because he loves them, Donald called animal control about Laron’s dogs claiming Laron didn’t have licensing to breed dogs, Donald contacted media, animal control took some of the dogs & Laron was fined for ordnance violations, Laron could not breed the dogs anymore, Laron was described as unpredictable, others said Donald was the aggressor, Laron sprayed Donald’s mom with water and Donald threatened to kill Laron, Donald smeared Laron’s name in any way he could, Donald called the EPA about a polluted well on Laron’s property, Donald wouldn’t let Laron use his property to remove the debris from the well, someone removed a property stake from Laron’s land, surveyor told Laron about Kenneth Vaughn, Donald had same issues with Vaughn, they were both fighting over 3 or 4 feet of property, according to Donald’s mom, Kenneth stopped taking medications, Kenneth drew a gun on Donald and Donald shot him in self-defense, but some believe Donald was jealous of Kenneth and it was murder, Donald’s fence was on Laron’s property but he refused to move it, Laron started fearing for his life, some neighbors said Laron wasn’t a nice guy, Donald called the sheriff’s department over 200 times throughout the years, Donald told cops he hopes he never has to kill Laron, Laron received a letter from a psychiatrist at the local VA cautioning him that Donald threatened to kill him, VA advised him to contact the police immediately, Laron tried to get a restraining order with new information but the judge wouldn’t allow the letter from the VA due to rules of evidence, psychiatrist couldn’t be at hearing so restraining order was denied, Laron made a ‘murderer’ sign and it pointed to Donald’s property, Donald was very angry about the sign, Donald reached out to the media asking for help with Laron, local police still didn’t take any action, physical altercation occurred between Donald and Laron and Laron allegedly beat the crap out of him, attorney told Donald to get a restraining order and they were successful using elderly laws, police were concerned that someone was going to get hurt or killed, there was constant feuding, the restraining order amplified the fear and hatred between them, Donald started carrying a gun so he wouldn’t be beat up again, the cops said the threat was from both sides, they were both pointing guns at each other and making threats, Laron pulled Donald off a ladder while he was trying to poke holes in the privacy fence, Donald fired his gun at Laron, Laron’s family said Laron was on the ladder trying to tape up the holes in the fence, Donald claimed Laron was trespassing and called the police, Donald pointed his gun at him and as Laron was running from the scene, Donald fired his weapon twice and shot Laron once in the back, Laron bled out and died on his property, at trial Donald claimed self-defense after characterizing Laron as a bully.
Disposition: Easley found guilty of murder, sentenced to 25 years to life in prison

In the News:

Detectives arrested Donald Easley in Kerby Monday afternoon. The charges against Easley are murder and unlawful use of a firearm.Josephine County Chief Deputy District Attorney, Lisa Turner, says this is not a case of whodunnit? Last weekend police say Easley shot and killed his neighbor, Leron Estes.Estes’ wife told News 10 last week her husband was fixing a privacy fence and fell into Easley’s yard.Police say Easley fired at least one shot, killing Estes.This case, we know who did the crime, but then we have the other issues with in regards to are there going to be self-defense issues and other dynamics that may not be involved in other cases, Turner said.Easley is being held in the Josephine County Jail awaiting his arraignment, to be held tomorrow, Tuesday. The case will then go to the Grand Jury with self-defense being one of the main issues at hand for the prosecution and defense. -KTVL News10 (October 19, 2013)

The man suspected of killing his neighbor was in court Tuesday and he’ll be staying behind bars for a while. It’s been two weeks since Laron Estes was shot and killed, and Tuesday’s arraignment helped family to breath a sigh of relief. Donald Easley was in court, via video, where a judge denied bail. Estes wife, Barbara Hicks, says some of the weight lifted when she heard the person suspected of murder, will stay behind bars. Very grateful that I know he’s not going to be released, that we can all rest easy, she said. More than a week to arrest the Kerby man. Hicks says during that time she and neighbors feared for their lives. She knows it’s a long road through the court system ahead, but least she will able to go home and feel safe, it’s in god’s hands and it’s in the justice system right now and he will pay for what he’s done, Hicks said. Hicks came to court armed with support. Estes mother, and brother, were with there with her, to see the man they loved get justice. There’s a four letter word that describes Laron and it’s l-o-v-e, said Kathleen Devol Jackson, the victim’s mother.Estes was 59 when he died, he’s survived by not just his mother and brother, but a sister too and several step children. Loosing Estes widowed Hicks for the fourth time in her life, I’m lost, without, I love him and miss him very much, she said. A viewing will be held on Sept.21st, 2013 at Hull and Hull Church in Cave Junction. If you would like to help the family with final expenses you can donate at any Washington Federal Bank to the Laron Estes Memorial Fund. -KTVL News10 (October 19, 2013)

Related Links:
Justice for Laron Estes | Facebook
Southern Oregon man involved again in a neighbor killing
Oregon Man Donald Easley Shoots And Kills Second Neighbor In Four Years, No Arrest Made Yet (Video)
Kerby Man Arrested in Connection with Neighbors Death
1st Oregon News Minute from the AP (Donald Easley)
Victim’s girlfriend says suspect shot neighbor in the back
Victim’s partner describes shooting in Kerby murder trial
Long-running feud that led to death was murder, jury rules
Jury finds Kerby man guilty of murdering his neighbor
Man guilty in ‘fence from hell’ shooting
Man sentenced to life in prison for killing neighbor
Neighbor slaying: Man sentenced to life in prison
Donald Easley | True Crime Stories
Donald Easley Arrested
Easley denied bail, family sighs relief
Homeowner Hell | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (S2, E11)

AWOL Army Soldier Joseph Kimsey & Jonathan Nelson Found Guilty of Murdering Ashley Melnyczok; Both Sentenced to Life in Prison Without Parole (2015)

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Joseph Kimsey, US Army (top left), Jonathan Nelson (bottom left), and Ashley Melnyczok (right)

Fort Carson Army soldier Joseph Kimsey, 23, murdered Ashley Melnyczok with Jonathan Nelson on June 3, 2015 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. During trial, it was revealed that Ashley was stabbed, bludgeoned, and left to die with a plastic bag taped over her head in her apartment, the result of a deadly robbery plot. According to authorities, Melnyczok advertised her escort services online and on a personal website; she was targeted for up to $20,000 in cash she kept under her bed. Kimsey and Nelson met in the El Paso County jail in the weeks before the murder and initially plotted to steal from Melnyczok as a means of getting money to post bond. Jonathan Nelson was found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole in February 2017. Joseph Kimsey was found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole in March 2017.

Related Links:
AWOL Fort Carson soldier arrested after being found in car wanted in murder case
AWOL Fort Carson soldier arrested in ex-girlfriend’s death
Family Goat Helps Catch Fugitive; Fort Carson Confirms Suspect Is Soldier
Police make second arrest in northeastern Colorado Springs murder
AWOL soldier arrested in death of Colorado Springs woman
AWOL Fort Carson soldier arrested in ex-girlfriend’s death
Colorado Springs police arrest AWOL Fort Carson soldier as 2nd suspect in killing
AWOL Fort Carson Soldier Arrested in Death of Colorado Springs Woman
Two ordered to stand trial in stabbing death of Colorado Springs woman
Hearing in homicide of Colorado Springs woman focuses on involvement of man levied with upgraded murder charge
Verdict reached for Colorado Springs murder suspect
Man convicted in 2015 murder at Colorado Springs apartment complex
Ex-Fort Carson soldier sentenced to life without parole in escort slaying
Jury selection begins for man accused of killing Colorado Springs woman
Colorado Springs prostitute had a ‘horrible, horrible, death,’ prosecutor says
Cell-phone records help seal murder conviction against former Fort Carson soldier
Second man found guilty of 2015 Colorado Springs murder
Second man found guilty of 2015 murder in Colorado Springs
Former Fort Carson soldier gets life for fatal stabbing
Violent Crime, Suicide and Non Combat Death at Fort Carson, Colorado (US Army)

Fear Thy Neighbor Premiered ‘Kill-De-Sac’ on Investigation Discovery: Robert Lorenz Shoots Duren Eldridge, Claims Self-Defense, Acquitted of Murder (June 1, 2015)

ID Go: When a freewheeling family moves from California to the buttoned down enclave of Leesburg, Virginia, they quickly get on the wrong side of their neighbour across the way. The conflict escalates until bullets fly and blood flows in the street. -Kill-De-Sac, Fear Thy Neighbor (S2, E8)

Date: April 9, 1995
Victim: Duren Eldridge, 31, truck driver
Offender: Robert ‘Bob’ Lorenz, 54, military veteran, federal employee
Location: Leesburg, Virginia
Circumstances: Annoyed with dog peeing on his lawn, Duren’s car rolled into his car and hit it causing minor damage, kids on skateboards were too loud, Bob called police & complained about neighbors multiple times, Bob yelled at the kids at Duren’s house, during confrontation at Bob’s front door, Bob shot Duren with handgun and Duren died
Disposition: Lorenz claimed self-defense, justified shooting, acquitted of murder

Related Links:
Jury Acquits Virginia Man Who Killed Neighbor
Fastidious Homeowner Acquitted of Murdering Raucous Neighbor
Man Who Shot And Killed Angry Neighbor Acquitted
Man Acquitted in Slaying of Neighbor
Loudon Slaying Acquittal Greeted with Accolades and Anger
Loudon Verdict Fits Community
Man Who Shot Neighbor to Pay $30,000 Settlement
Kill-De-Sac | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (S2, E8)