Military Murder Podcast Featured the Suspicious Case of Fort Campbell Army Pfc. Lavena Johnson in Balad, Iraq (July 27, 2020)

“Lavena Johnson was a smart, witty woman, born and raised in Missouri.  Her senior year of high school she decided she would join the Army in an effort to not burden her parents with out of state tuition for college.  Although Dr. Johnson (Lavena’s dad), begged her not to join the Army – she did so anyway.  She thought the Army was a good deal – you serve your country a few years and then you get 4 years of college paid! Recruiters promised her she would likely not deploy, even though in 2004 there was an uptick in deployed troops.”

Listen to Ep 40:  Did Lavena Johnson commit suicide? on the Military Murder Podcast here.

Related Links:
Ep40: Did Lavena Johnson commit suicide? | Military Murder Podcast
Non Combat Deaths of Female Service Members in the U.S. Military (Iraq)
Army Pfc. LaVena Johnson Died of Non Combat Related Injuries in Iraq; Death Ruled Suicide But Independent Investigation Revealed Rape & Murder (July 19, 2005)
‘The Silent Truth’ Documentary: The Rape, Murder & Military Cover-Up of Army Pfc. LaVena Johnson in Iraq (July 1, 2014)
The Generation Why Podcast Featured the Suspicious Death of Army Pfc. LaVena Johnson in Balad, Iraq: Was It Suicide or Murder? (November 19, 2017)
The Strange & Unexplained: ‘The Biggest Suspicious Unsolved Military Mysteries’ (August 15, 2018)
Crime Junkie Podcast Featured the Suspicious Deaths of LaVena Johnson & Tina Priest in ‘Conspiracy: Women in the US Military’ (October 22, 2018)
Seven Intriguing True Crime Podcasts Spotlighting Active Duty Military Suicide, Missing, and Murder Cases
15 Active Duty Cases That Beg for Prevention Efforts, Military Justice Reform, and the End of the Feres Doctrine
15 Movies & Documentaries That Expose the Broken Military Justice System

Military Murder Podcast Featured the Homicide of Fort Hood Army Spc. Kamisha Block in Iraq; Friendly Fire or Military Cover-Up? (July 13, 2020)

Kamisha Block

Spc. Kamisha Block, U.S. Army

TWITTER: Shonta Block @ShontaBlock
FACEBOOK: Corruption without justice in the military
JUSTICE: Reasons why the Block family want congressional hearings
PETITION: Justice for Kamisha Block commanding officers are not above the law.
SENATORS: Contact your two Senators here (top left has drop down for state)
REPRESENTATIVE: Contact your Representative here (enter zip code)
SASC/HASC MEMBERS: Click here to contact the SASC/HASC members
OTHER CASES: 15 Active Duty Cases That Beg for Prevention Efforts, Military Justice Reform, and the End of the Feres Doctrine and Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present)

“In August 2007, [Fort Hood Army] Specialist Kamisha Block’s family was told that their 20-year-old daughter had died in Iraq as a result of friendly fire – one shot to the chest. The family was floored. They didn’t quite understand what that meant and they wanted answers. But Kamisha would give them a sign. When Kamisha’s mom, Jane, arrived at the funeral home to see her daughter one last time, she noticed a bullet sized hole on Kamisha’s head that had been covered with makeup. Her knees buckled as she thought – what have they done to my baby girl? And the answer she would get would never quench the Block’s family desire for real answers. Kamisha had been killed intentionally by another soldier – Staff Sergeant Paul Brandon Norris. Norris and Kamisha had been dating on and off for a few months and their relationship was against military regulations.” Listen to Episode 38 on the Military Murder Podcast website here.

UPDATE: Army reopens case of 2007 murder-suicide that was originally called ‘friendly fire’ (Stars and Stripes, April 19, 2019) and Army closes investigation into allegations of a coverup in 2007 murder-suicide in Iraq (Stars and Stripes, June 19, 2020)

Kamisha Block Congress

If you would like to help the family get a congressional hearing and investigation, please call the ranking members of the HASC and SASC. #JusticeforKamishaBlock

Goals and Questions from Kamisha Block’s Family:

1. Hearings to discuss service wide responses to dangerous situations, negligence, and preventable deaths

2. There’s a break down in continuity of ‘no contact orders.’ For example, may be enforced in US but not in Iraq, may be enforced in civilian jurisdiction but not on base, etc.

3. Discussion of how a victim of crime copes when they report and are ignored or they don’t report for fear of their lives, loss of career, retaliation.

4. Brandon Norris was in Kamisha’s enlisted chain of command and was able to manipulate the situation to keep Kamisha under his control. When the Chain of Command learned about the forbidden relationship, one of them should have been moved to address the situation.

5. When the homicide-suicide occurred in Iraq, military members were told not to talk to Kamisha Block’s family. Out of fear, they remained silent until they watched an Investigation Discovery episode outlining what happened in Iraq. Most are veterans now and as a result of time and conscience, they now are willing to come forward and testify at hearings.

6. The service members who were in Iraq are now suffering with what we would refer to as moral injury. They knew the truth, they were shocked the Army told Kamisha Block’s family she died by friendly fire. They were fearful of coming forward while still serving in the US Army.

7. Brandon Norris was problematic before being deployed to Iraq. His behavior was erratic, he was drinking, he very likely could have had PTSD due to prior deployments, and he should not have been sent back to Iraq. When the command found out about the forbidden relationship, they issued a no contact order, which is virtually useless when both parties are on the same small base. They sent Brandon Norris to Iraq knowing there was a no contact order. There were a number of red flags in Brandon’s history to warrant getting him evaluated and medically retiring him. Although PTSD isn’t an excuse for violence, the mental health breakdown that comes with that diagnosis will send someone into a downward spiral if not addressed. These are co-occuring issues. Prior problems with domestic violence and PTSD are a deadly combination if no intervention.

8. When they sent Brandon Norris back to Iraq, it made Kamisha even more fearful because she could not escape him, there was nowhere to turn and she was isolated. The expedited transfer policy needs to be expanded to include all victims of crime and those who are fearful of their lives and trapped in dangerous situations. Did Brandon manipulate fellow leaders to see things his way? Why didn’t they protect Kamisha from Brandon’s escalating violence?

9. Why was the no contact order ignored, why was Brandon not removed from Kamisha’s Chain of Command, why was Brandon sent to Iraq with Kamisha, why did the Army tell Kamisha’s family she died by friendly fire, why was the Chain of Command not held responsible for negligence, why did Kamisha feel like she had nowhere to turn, why were service members told to remain silent, why did it take this long to get Kamisha’s case reopened? Why was Kamisha Block’s case closed before any of the questions were answered? Why was it closed because there was “no evidence” to support one allegation?

10. Why was Kamisha’s computer wiped clean before it was returned to the family? Why was it returned to the family if it was considered evidence? Why would anyone wipe the computer clean when it was full of potential evidence that would help us understand the victimology of Kamisha and what was going on in her life at the time? Service members informed family they were asked to destroy all paperwork and personnel records before Army CID arrived to investigate. Why would anyone destroy evidence needed to evaluate and investigate a homicide-suicide? How can we prevent the Chain of Command from destroying evidence in the future?

11. The morning of the homicide-suicide, it is alleged that Brandon Norris was experiencing a mental health breakdown. Why was his gun not taken from him immediately if there were already concerns about his behavior, actions, and deteriorating mental health state. This is another example of how this tragedy could have been prevented had the Army intervened and sent him home. Again, he should have never been sent to Iraq on a deployment with Kamisha. The no contact order is impossible to enforce if both are in the same unit on the same base in Iraq. Kamisha clearly expressed fear of Brandon and wanted the no contact order enforced, they ignored it. Why? Did they need warm bodies in Iraq? Did Norris manipulate them? Did the chain of command not care about Kamisha’s safety?

12. Why was Brandon sent to Iraq instead of discharged? Why was he not held responsible for an illegal relationship with a subordinate? Why was his mental health and problematic behavior ignored? Why would the chain of command issue a no contact order that can’t be enforced when two service members are serving together in the same unit on the same base whether in the US or overseas? Had any of these things been addressed and investigated, it could have saved Kamisha’s life.

13. Was Brandon Norris taking any medication for his mental health issues? If so, what were the prescriptions and what are the side effects. It is alleged that Brandon was taking ambien to help with sleep in a war zone. If this is the case, what is the responsibility of the mental health professionals or other military doctors who prescribed this medication to him? What is the responsibility of the chain of command if they have knowledge of medications? Do the health professionals and chain of command discuss whether it is healthy for a service member to deploy while on said medications? Did the medications or the side effects of the medications contribute to a downward spiral? Did he abruptly stop taking the medications at any point? Why was his health and medication management not considered before he was sent to Iraq? This puts everyone in danger if the person is not taking medications as prescribed and/or not well.

14. Discussion of Feres Doctrine. This archaic, unconstitutional Supreme Court decision is preventing us from holding key players accountable. Lawsuits are a form of checks and balances in the system. How do we hold the military accountable if we can’t utilize one of the three forms of government to force positive change for all service members in the future? Wrongful death lawsuits help us find the answers we may not get in an investigation or if something was not investigated. Lawsuits are used to force change and prevent the same tragedies from happening over and over. This is not happening in the military as evidenced by years of failed reforms. Preventable deaths are a common occurrence and until we can hold them accountable, nothing is going to change. How do we begin the process of getting the Feres Doctrine overturned? If congressional members do not do their jobs and help family members learn the truth, where do we turn? How do we get a case reopened without re-traumatizing ourselves over and over. It took years for Kamisha’s family to get her homicide case reopened and one year before the Army closed it again. The family wants the chain of command held criminally responsible for what they know was a preventable death. What do families do if Congress doesn’t help them? What do families do if the media won’t help tell their story? What do families do when they want an independent investigation because they question the outcome of the Chain of Command and CID’s investigation?

15. Does the Chain of Command involved in the wrongful death of a soldier deserve to continue serving in the military? Why are they not held responsible for manslaughter or negligence? If their actions or inaction lead to the death of someone under their command, shouldn’t they be held responsible for that death as well? Shouldn’t they be held responsible for not taking care of Brandon or Kamisha when they had the chance? Why was Brandon’s escalating violence and problematic behavior ignored at Kamisha’s expense? How do we hold them accountable when they destroy evidence? How do we prevent them from destroying evidence and wiping computers and phones clean before giving them back to the family?

16. There are a number of female soldiers who have died under suspicious circumstances while deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and other overseas locations. There were a cluster of deaths around the time Kamisha died as well. If you study each female service member’s story, it fits a pattern, a pattern recognized in Kamisha’s case as well. It reveals the continued repeated pattern of placing people in dangerous situations with potentially dangerous service members. We need an evaluation of all the non combat deaths overseas to find out what the root causes are in an effort to prevent these suspicious deaths and/or suicides from happening in the first place. Did the service member ask for help, report a crime, etc. before they died. We need to know how and why they died to help us create deployment policy that can be enforced in an effort to prevent a wrongful death. They need the expedited transfer policy expanded to capture all the dangerous situations not related to a sexual assault or rape. This can be used to save the service members life if they chain of command ignores them. The danger increases exponentially in a war-time environment one cannot escape.

17. Lastly what about the impact this has on the loved ones left behind? First off, the families should be compensated for the pain and suffering the military causes them when they question the cause of death ruling or they question what happened to their loved one who died under suspicious circumstances. We must address how the military treats families in these situations. Most don’t even know where to start. They don’t know how the military works. They don’t know the Commander is the central investigator and CID does what is asked of them. They don’t know how to FOIA records. They can’t make sense of records they do obtain because most of it is redacted or blacked out. No family should have to FOIA any records related to their loved ones death. This should be an automatic for them. The system is set up to make the family feel hopeless and give up, and that’s exactly what most do because the current system re-traumatizes them when they learn that no one will take responsibility for what happened under their watch or help them find the answers they deserve to have. They should not be expected to simply accept the military’s outcomes. In the civilian world, they have more access to the case and those involved and it is a proven fact a second set of eyes on a case can be the deciding factor in learning the truth. Military families don’t have this option. They should be assigned a victim advocate and or a special victims counsel like those provided to victims of sexual assault and rape. They should be treated with kindness, not ignored, transferred from person to person, and intimidated. The current system is reinforcing the trauma originally experienced from losing their loved one to a preventable death. This is unacceptable and causes irreversible harm. The truth is all that is wanted and it shouldn’t come at the expense of the family member’s health and wellness.

18. Lastly, what is the role of the FBI? Why is it that they can investigate a case in Nigeria involving folks pretending to be soldiers to scam people of money but they can’t investigate any of the suspicious deaths of female soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. If you do the research and look at how many suspicious deaths of service members occurred overseas, you will see the pattern. Every family who loses a loved one to a non combat death overseas deserves answers and a full investigation of the circumstances if they believe they were murdered or pushed to suicide because they had no way out. We lost a lot of female soldiers to non combat death overseas but we also lost a lot of male service members too. Would the expansion of the expedited transfer policy save their life? Or are they still trapped because current policy dictates their commander make that decision. Why can’t we have a bug out plan for the service members who were ignored like Kamisha? Why can’t we provide them with a plan that safely helps them extricate themselves from a dangerous situation if the chain of command chooses to do nothing because they don’t care or don’t understand how violence escalates?

Questions from Retired U.S. Federal Special Agent:

1. Was SSG NORRIS still legally married to his “third” and last wife at the time the relationship between him and SPC BLOCK initiated at Ft. Hood, Texas…or…elsewhere?

2. If SSG NORRIS was still legally married at the time he and SPC BLOCK became sexually involved, the military offense of ADULTERY, as well as other possible military offenses, was applicable…and…that military crime must not have been permitted to occur without subsequent “mutually applicable” ADULTERY military legal action against both SSG NORRIS and SPC BLOCK!

3. At the time of his suicide, was SSG NORRIS divorced or still married to his last wife?

4. According to the U.S. Army, upon his death, who was officially designated as SSG NORRIS’ “immediate legal surviving relative”

5. Was there any company level chain of command knowledge of the SSG NORRIS-SPC BLOCK relationship at Ft. Hood, Texas, prior to their respective departures from that unit to the Basic NCO Course (BNOC) (SSG NORRIS) and Iraq (SPC BLOCK)?

6. Must ID and interview their family, close friends and company level chain of command back at Ft. Hood prior to the SSG NORRIS and SPC BLOCK respective departures, to attempt to determine any possible degree of knowledge about their “pre-departure” existing relationship, which is already somewhat detailed by an unidentified soldier in one of the case’s enclosed CID Sworn Statements.

7. Must clarify, as far back as possible…due to their respective different military ranks…and…probable age difference, where exactly did their relationship commence…at Ft. Hood, Texas…or…elsewhere before that…for example, at the U.S. Army Military Police School (USAMPS), Ft. Leonardwood, Missouri,…or…somewhere in-between…in order to determine for how long their Chains of Command permitted their, most likely UNLAWFUL or at least PROHIBITED, fraternization and personal romantic relationship to exist.

8. When did each of them, SSG NORRIS and SPC BLOCK, first arrive at their MP Company in Ft. Hood, Texas…and…from where?

9. Obtain copies all written U.S. Army Regulations and policies relative to FRATERNIZATION PROHIBITIONS and “SOCIAL DISTANCING” applicable to Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) (Rank of Corporal to Sergeant Major) and Enlisted Personnel (Rank of Private to SPC) applicable to both SSG NORRIS and
SPC BLOCK.

10. Obtain any and all possible evidence of where exactly did both SSG NORRIS and SPC BLOCK received official information concerning #9 above.

11. When American military personnel are discharged from any military duty, they are issued a DD Form 214, with extensive official individual military history pertaining to promotions, awards, tours of duty, type of discharge, etc. Need to determine what form is issued by the U.S. Armed Forces to the official legal survivors of dead military personnel, and obtain a copy of the ones issued to SSG NORRIS and SPC BLOCK to see what information they contain.

12. Obtain copies of their respective Death Certificates…what cause and/or manner of death is listed in each?

13. Who, from the U.S. Armed Forces, first officially notified BLOCK’s family of her death…when…where…how?

14. Exactly what was the BLOCK family initially told concerning the cause and/or manner of death of SPC BLOCK?

15. Was SPC BLOCK “posthumously” awarded a “Purple Heart” medal by the U.S. Army?

16. If SPC BLOCK was indeed awarded a “Purple Heart” medal, a copy of the corresponding “Citation” must be obtained, and its obviously FALSE content noted…as it is a medal officially authorized to be awarded ONLY for: “Being wounded or killed in any action against an enemy of the United States or as a result of an act of any such enemy or opposing armed forces…”

17. Did the official legal survivor of SSG NORRIS receive any government “Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) payment in connection with any claim for his death by suicide?

18. The Chain of Command should have, upon receipt of the initial complaint against SSG NORRIS, made rapid administrative/personnel arrangements for the separation and transfer of SPC BLOCK or SSG NORRIS completely out of the area, to another overseas assignment or back to a base other than Ft. Hood,
Texas, and into a different MP Company, back in the Continental United States (CONUS)…not merely to transfer SPC BLOCK from SSG NORRIS’ squad to another squad…IN THE SAME PLATOON!

*THE FAILURE TO REMOVE SPC BLOCK AND SSG NORRIS FROM EACH OTHER IS THE MOST SERIOUS CHAIN OF COMMAND NEGLIGENT FAILURE WHICH LED TO THE MURDER OF SPC BLOCK! IF NOT FOR “A” THEREFORE NOT “B!”

19. There was also two(2) appearances or perceptions of possible CONFLICT OF INTEREST at the military law enforcement and criminal investigation level which took place at this crime scene:

a. “Off Duty” Military Police personnel, from SSG NORRIS’ and SPC BLOCK’s MP unit and MP platoon became overly involved at the crime scene, acting as if they were the first responding “On-Duty” MPs, which as far as I can tell they were NOT! At this time, I do NOT recall having read anything, in the E-mailed documents I have thus far received, which details anything about when or which “On-Duty” MPs or CID Agents arrived and took over complete and total control of the chaotic crime scene.

*FOR CLARIFICATION PURPOSES: Unless something has changed of which I am not aware, in the U.S. Army, Military Police personnel exist and perform under a “double supervision” system. They have an “OFF-DUTY” unit of assignment…as in their MP company…under the supervision of that company’s Chain of Command. And, as the need arises, they are basically provided to the “Provost Marshal” (Military Chief of Police) to be under his/her OPERATIONAL or “ON-DUTY” control.

b. In one of the Sworn Statements, it is revealed that one of the CID Special Agents at the crime scene was a former Military Police NCO at the same MP Company and possibly assigned to the same platoon as SSG NORRIS and SPC BLOCK, back in Ft. Hood, Texas. In that Sworn Statement, that MP witness also stated he had conversed with that CID Agent while in the vicinity of the SSG NORRIS and SPC BLOCK murder/suicide crime scene…and…that the agent had been one of his MP platoon leaders back at Ft. Hood, Texas…and…he had made a prior courtesy visit to that CID agent at the Camp Liberty CID Office, upon hearing that said NCO was now working there as a CID Agent. Obviously, based on this information, the CID Agent in question applied for the U.S. Army CID Program while he was assigned to that same MP Company back in Ft. Hood, Texas, before the unit was deployed to Iraq. That “SFC” ranked CID Special Agent should have informed his CID supervisor(s) he was formerly an NCO member of the MP Company where the SSG NORRIS and SPC BLOCK murder/suicide crime scene was located…and…should have been recused from any involvement in the case, ESPECIALLY IF HE PREVIOUSLY PERSONALLY KNEW OR SUPERVISED EITHER OR BOTH SSG NORRIS and SPC BLOCK FROM HIS ASSIGNMENT AT THE MP COMPANY BACK AT FT. HOOD!

20. Are MEDICS now organically attached to or assigned to MP units? I sensed some of the individuals involved at the crime scene, subsequent to the murder/suicide, were MP-connected MEDICS.

21. A Staff Sergeant counseling another Staff Sergeant about fraternization or anything else? That is strange to me…and…indicative of Chain of Command NEGLIGENCE in delegating this important preventive measure to an NCO of the same rank as the individual receiving the counseling! In my opinion, any and all counseling involving SSG NORRIS should have been done by a higher ranking NCO or a Commissioned Officer, not by his Platoon Sergeant OF EQUAL RANK. I feel such counseling should have been done by either the First Sergeant, Platoon Leader, Executive Officer or Company Commander.

22. Maybe, just maybe, I am just TOO OLD ARMY, but off-post squad parties at a squad leader’s off-post private home…and…drinking beers and going to off-post clubs with my squad leader?! Unheard of for me in my Army days…never happened! In my time there was strict “social separation” between Enlisted Soldiers, Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) and Commissioned Officers! Each rank category had their own SEPARATE on-post clubs…ENLISTED CLUB…NCO CLUB…and…OFFICERS CLUB. I’ve got a feeling that, at least in this particular MP company, there was a bit of too much socializing among the Enlisted soldiers and the NCOs…and this, as it does with Commissioned Officers also, is a pure social seed planting environment which blooms into prohibited FRATERNIZATION situations.

23. I suspect that SSG NORRIS came to a realization that he could get away with his fraternizing relationship with SPC BLOCK because he had gotten away with for so long, everyone was looking the other way and in denial…and…no one was really challenging him to not continue fraternizing with her!

24. My gut also tells me that SSG NORRIS’ anger streak was common knowledge around his MP Company, and most of his immediate supervisors and some in the Chain of Command, preferred NOT to confront him and hold him accountable for anything. THEY ROUTINELY GAVE HIM A PASS! And most soldiers were simply afraid and/or reluctant to report and complain about him.

25. I am in total agreement with all critique and comments previously provided about the CID Crime Lab apparent shortcomings.

*Most importantly…WHAT EXACTLY WAS IN THE CELL PHONES AND LAPTOPS! Must demand the transcripts and photos from each of those devices. What was the final legal disposition of those EVIDENCE ITEMS?!

YouTube Videos:

Spc. Kamisha Block, U.S. Army in Iraq (2007) 

Vidor family of soldier Kamisha Block alleges cover-up after 2007 shooting in Iraq -12 News Now (February 12, 2019)

Families from across the U.S. held a rally outside Fort Hood demanding answers about the deaths of their loved ones who died while serving. -KCEN News (July 11, 2020)

Related Links:
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
Ep. 38: Military Cover-up? The Murder of Kamisha Block | Military Murder Podcast
Ep. 38: Military Cover-up? The Murder of Kamisha Block | MM Podcast (Player FM)
Ep. 38: Military Cover-up? The Murder of Kamisha Block | MM Podcast (Stitcher)
Ep. 38: Military Cover-up? The Murder of Kamisha Block | MM Podcast (Apple)
Ep. 38: Military Cover-up? The Murder of Kamisha Block | MM Podcast (Podchaser)
Army Staff Sgt. Paul Norris Fatally Shot Spc. Kamisha Block in Murder-Suicide in Iraq; Family Requests Congressional Hearings & Investigation of Military Leadership (2007)
Forbidden, Dying for Love Premiered ‘Love is a Battlefield’ on Investigation Discovery: Army Spc. Kamisha Block Died in Murder-Suicide in Iraq (March 13, 2018)
Crimelines True Crime Podcast Featured the Military Murder of Army Spc. Kamisha Block in Baghdad, Iraq (October 20, 2019)
Murderific True Crime Podcast Featured the Military Murder of Army Spc. Kamisha Block in Baghdad, Iraq (December 8, 2019)
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present)
15 Active Duty Cases That Beg for Prevention Efforts, Military Justice Reform, and the End of the Feres Doctrine
Forbidden, Dying for Love: Six Active-Duty Military Homicide Cases Featured on Investigation Discovery
Love is a Battlefield | Forbidden: Dying for Love | Investigation Discovery (S3, E1)
Love is a Battlefield | Forbidden: Dying for Love | Investigation Discovery (website)
Love is a Battlefield | Forbidden: Dying for Love | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Non Combat Deaths of Female Service Members in the U.S. Military (Iraq)
Spc. Kamisha Block, U.S. Army in Iraq (YouTube)
Vidor family of soldier Kamisha Block alleges cover-up after 2007 shooting in Iraq
Dozens gather to protest for answers outside Fort Hood

Unsolved Homicide: Fort Hood Army Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans Found Fatally Shot Four Miles From Burning Jeep in Harker Heights, Texas; Local PD Takes Lead (May 18, 2020)

Brandon Rosecrans

Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans, U.S. Army

Fort Hood Army Pfc. Brandon Scott Rosecrans, 27, of Kimberling City, Missouri, was found dead on the southern edge of Harker Heights, Texas on May 18, 2020. Brandon Rosecrans’ was a shooting victim and his body was found along Fuller Lane just north of the western end of Stillhouse Hollow Lake. His orange-colored 2016 Jeep Renegade was discovered on fire about four miles from his body. The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Harker Heights Fire Marshal. Pfc. Rosecrans served as a quartermaster and chemical equipment repairer with the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division since November 2018. Pfc. Rosecrans enlisted in the Army in May 2018.

Harker Heights, Texas, Police Chief Phillip Gadd reported that following a preliminary investigation, they’ve determined that Brandon Rosecrans died from a gunshot wound and that his death was being investigated as a murder. The murder and arson investigations are being run concurrently by the Harker Height’s police and fire departments and the U.S. Army CID. According to the Army CID, the Harker Heights Police Department is the lead investigative agency for Brandon Rosecrans’ death. Anyone with information, “no matter how insignificant it may seem,” is asked to come forward and contact Army CID, the military police or their local law enforcement agency.

“The Harker Heights Police Criminal Investigation Division is asking anyone with information about this murder to contact them at 254-953-5400. Individuals may also provide information to Crime Stoppers at 254-526-TIPS (8477) or go online at www.bellcountycrimestoppers.com. All information is confidential and anonymous and if your tip leads to the arrest of the person(s) responsible, you could be eligible to receive a reward up to $1,000 in cash.” -Harker Heights PD Press Release (May 19, 2020)

In the News:

Man found dead in Harker Heights identified as Fort Hood soldier Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans -KWKT FOX44 (May 20, 2020)

Digital First Video: Parents of Brandon Rosecrans -KOLR10 News (May 28, 2020)

Army Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans’ Funeral in Kimberling City

Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans Funeral -KOLR10 News (June 2, 2020)

His vehicle was found on fire 15 mins after he was found about 4 miles away. Let help get brandon justice. His reward is only 1000 it needs upped. Also his service if you want to pay your respect and watch. -A thin line between Love and homicide (June 29, 2020)

Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans was found dead near his burning Jeep a short drive from the base, killed by a gunshot wound. Police and Army investigators are now investigating the death as a possible murder. -Military Times (July 1, 2020)

Press Releases:

FHPC Brandon Rosecrans

Fort Hood Press Center Press Release for Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans (Editor’s Note: Fort Hood will delete this press release, hence the reason it’s been preserved)

HH PR Brandon Rosecrans

Harker Heights Police Department Press Release for Brandon Rosecrans

Brandon Rosecrans Fort Hood

Related Links:
Death of a Fort Hood Soldier (Fort Hood Press Center)
Harker Heights Police Department – Posts | Facebook
Police identify shooting victim found dead along local road
Man found dead in Harker Heights identified as Fort Hood soldier
Fort Hood soldier found shot dead near burning Jeep
Fort Hood soldier found shot in the head inside burning car, police say
Man found dead in Harker Heights identified as Fort Hood soldier
Man found dead in Harker Heights identified as Fort Hood soldier
Man killed in Harker Heights Monday identified as Fort Hood soldier
Fort Hood soldier found shot dead miles from his vehicle burning near Texas base
Fort Hood soldier found shot to death two minutes after car found engulfed in flames
Fort Hood soldier found shot to death and vehicle burned identified by US Army
Soldier from Kimberling City killed in Texas shooting
Video: Fort Hood soldier’s death investigated as a homicide
Fort Hood soldier found shot to death and vehicle burned identified by US Army
Harker Heights police investigating shooting death of Fort Hood soldier as murder
Texas authorities investigating death of soldier from Kimberling City, Mo.
Parents of Kimberling City soldier open up about their son’s murder, legacy
Ep31. MISSING x2: Missing in Fort Hood (Vanessa Guillen & Gregory Morales) | Military Murder Podcast
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present)
The Murder of Vanessa Guillen and the Unsolved Homicides of Fort Hood
What Is Happening At Fort Hood? – Missing People In America
Man found dead in Harker Heights identified as Fort Hood soldier
Soldiers Funeral in Kimberling City
Fort Hood Soldier’s death investigated as a homicide
Digital First Video: Parents of Brandon Rosecrans
Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans Funeral | KOLR10 News
PFC Brandon Scott Rosecrans found shot on the side of the road shot

Seven Intriguing True Crime Podcasts Spotlighting Active Duty Military Suicide, Missing, and Murder Cases

Crime Junkie Podcast:

Crime Junkie Podcast Featured the Suspicious Deaths of LaVena Johnson & Tina Priest in ‘Conspiracy: Women in the US Military’ (October 22, 2018)

Crimelines True Crime Podcast:

Crimelines True Crime Podcast w/ Death’s Door Podcast Featured the Last Military Execution of Army Private John Bennett in 1961 (April 22, 2018)

Crimelines True Crime Podcast Featured the Military Murder of Army Spc. Kamisha Block in Baghdad, Iraq (October 20, 2019)

Crimelines True Crime Podcast Featured the Death of Navy CPO John Keith Bemis: Was It Suicide or Murder? (December 22, 2019)

Death’s Door Podcast:

Death’s Door Podcast Featured the Case of Military Death Row Inmate Army MSG Timothy Hennis (September 14, 2017)

Military Murder True Crime Podcast:

Military Murder Podcast Premiered First Three Episodes on Veteran’s Day: Stephen Schap, Russell Williams, and Timothy Hennis (November 11, 2019)

Murderific True Crime Podcast:

Murderific True Crime Podcast Featured the Military Murder of Army Spc. Kamisha Block in Baghdad, Iraq (December 8, 2019)

The Generation Why Podcast:

The Generation Why Podcast Featured the Suspicious Death of Army Pfc. LaVena Johnson in Balad, Iraq: Was It Suicide or Murder? (November 19, 2017)

The Generation Why Podcast Featured the Mysterious Death of Air Force Colonel Philip Shue: Accident, Suicide or Murder? (November 4, 2018)

The Vanished Podcast:

The Vanished Podcast Featured the Mysterious Missing Persons Case of Army Pvt. Dakota Lee Stump at Fort Hood in Texas (December 15, 2017)

Unsolved Homicide: Fort Hood Army Pvt. Gregory Wedel-Morales Reported AWOL; Based on Anonymous Tip, Remains Found in Shallow Grave in Killeen 10 Months Later (August 19, 2019)

Gregory Wedel-Morales

Pvt. Gregory Wedel-Morales, U.S. Army

Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying
at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present)

The skeletal remains of missing Fort Hood Army Pvt. Gregory Scott Morales (Gregory Wedel-Morales) were discovered June 19, 2020 in a shallow grave in a field near the 3200 block of Florence Road in Killeen, Texas. Pvt. Wedel-Morales was last seen in Killeen on August 19, 2019 in his private vehicle (the vehicle was later recovered by authorities). Gregory was out-processing and due to be out of the Army within a couple days before he disappeared. The Army labeled him AWOL (Absent Without Leave), then deserter, and went about their business. Gregory’s family called attention to his disappearance and it wasn’t until Fort Hood Pfc. Vanessa Guillen disappeared that the Army started referring to Gregory as missing and offered a reward. After the Army CID offered a reward of up to $25,000 to anyone with credible information, they received an anonymous tip that led to the discovery of his body. Both Gregory and Vanessa were considered AWOL and it wasn’t until Vanessa’s family was able to garner nationwide support that the Army took either of the missing cases seriously. In the last year, Gregory and Vanessa were both labeled AWOL yet murdered and buried in shallow graves outside the base. Obviously, foul play is suspected and now the Army CID is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information concerning the circumstances surrounding the death of Gregory Wedel-Morales. Both the Army CID and the Killeen Police Department have jurisdiction as Gregory was found in Killeen.

“Foul play is suspected at this point in the investigation. Army special agents are working closely with the Killeen Police Department and are offering a reward of up to $25,000 to anyone with credible information concerning the circumstances surrounding the death of Morales.”

“Persons with information can contact Army CID Special Agents at 254-287-2722 or the Military Police Desk at 254-288-1170.  They can also anonymously submit information at https://www.cid.army.mil/report-a-crime.html. They can also contact their local police departments. People wishing to remain anonymous will be honored to the degree allowable under the law and the information will be held in the strictest confidence allowable.”

Read more here.

Pvt Gregory Wedel-Morales

Click here for the remainder of the Fort Hood Press Center Press Release (be forewarned they will delete this history eventually)

In the case of Wedel-Morales, his unit called his mother, Kim Wedel, on Aug. 21 and asked her when was the last time she had talked to him because he didn’t show up for formation, she said. “Next thing they tell me, he’s AWOL,” Wedel said. “I filed a missing person report with the Killeen Police Department, but they said that since he was an adult, the best thing you can do is use social media to find him.” “My perception is nothing was going on until they (Fort Hood) were forced into it. I reached out (to CID) and said, ‘hey, this young lady deserves a reward, but what about my son?’ We had nothing until this reward came out and got a tip,” she said. “If we had done this to begin with, we may not have had to wait 10 months.” Because of his status as a deserter, Wedel said the family cannot even give him a proper military burial until an autopsy confirms he has been dead since he disappeared. Read more from Killeen Daily Herald here.

In the News:

Morales was last seen driving his car outside of Fort Hood in Killeen in the night of August 19, 2019. -KCEN News (June 15, 2020)

“He just ended up in a shallow grave in a field without anyone knowing where he was. They didn’t go out to look for him and that really stings,” Nick Wedel says. -KCEN News (June 21, 2020)

The family of Gregory Morales is petitioning for a change in Army policy after Morales was listed AWOL and then deserter before the remains of his body were found. -KCEN News (June 21, 2020)

Each time the family of former Fort Hood soldier, Pvt. Gregory Morales, gets news about his status with the military, it brings them more pain. -ABC13 Houston (July 2, 2020)

Related Links:
Reward Increased: Missing Fort Hood Soldier Pvt. Gregory Morales
Reward increased | Up to $25,000 to locate missing Fort Hood soldier Gregory Morales
Army offers $25K for info leading to soldier who vanished days before discharge
Anonymous Tip Leads To Missing Fort Hood Soldier Gregory Morales’ Skeletal Remains
Remains identified as soldier stationed at Fort Hood, Texas
Confirmed | Skeletal remains found in Killeen identified as missing Fort Hood Soldier Gregory Morales, Army CID confirms
Army confirms body found near Fort Hood is missing soldier Gregory Morales
Army CID confirms skeletal remains discovered are those of Gregory Wedel-Morales
Missing Fort Hood Soldier’s Remains Are Found in Field, and Foul Play Is Suspected
Foul play suspected in death of Ft. Hood soldier Gregory Wedel Morales, Army says
Unidentified Remains Found in Same Area as Body of Fort Hood Soldier
Family of Fort Hood soldier whose remains found in Killeen wants military funeral
Mother of Gregory Morales pushing for change in deserter status of her son
Sapulpa family searching for answers after missing soldier’s remains found in Texas
Family of soldier found dead speaks out
Two soldiers missing for months from the same post
Friends describe Pvt. Gregory Morales as a ‘sweetheart,’ and ‘happy soul’
Remains found at 2nd location amid search for missing Fort Hood soldier
Soldier identified, reward offered for info
Family of deceased Fort Hood soldier hoping to have ‘deserter’ status changed
Family of fallen Fort Hood soldier Gregory Morales wants him buried with military honors
Gregory Morales’ brother speaks about missing soldier case, body discovery
Gregory Morales’ brother speaks about missing soldier case, body discovery
Wedel family fights to clear Gregory Morales’ name in order to have military burial
Mothers of Fort Hood soldiers found dead want Army to change search protocols
Here is how a soldier becomes listed as ‘deserter’
Family of fallen Fort Hood soldier wants him buried with military honors
Two Fort Hood soldiers found dead – are their cases related?
Ep31: Missing From Fort Hood | Military Murder Podcast
Episode 37: UPDATE to Episode 31 – Vanessa Guillen & Gregory Morales | Military Murder Podcast

Crime Junkie Podcast Featured ‘Murdered: The Eastburn Family’; Army MSG Timothy Hennis on Military Death Row for Rape & Three Murders (May 13, 2019)

Crime Junkie Podcast

Crime Junkie Podcast

“In 1985 Katie Eastburn and two of her daughters were brutally murdered while her husband was away. It would take over 20 years and three trials before their killer would be brought to justice.” –Crime Junkie Podcast

Listen to “Murdered: The Eastburn Family” on Crime Junkie Podcast here.

Eastburn Family

Kathryn, Cara, and Erin Eastburn

Related Links:
Air Force Spouse Kathryn Eastburn & Daughters Cara & Erin Found Murdered in Fayetteville, NC Home; Youngest Toddler Jana Discovered Unharmed (May 9, 1985)
A Military Jury Delivered a Guilty Verdict in a Death Penalty Trial to Retired Army MSG Timothy Hennis for the Triple Murders of Kathryn, Cara & Erin Eastburn (April 8, 2010)
In 3rd Trial, Retired Army MSG Timothy Hennis Sentenced to Death by Military Court Martial for the Murders of Kathryn, Cara & Erin Eastburn in Fayetteville, NC (April 15, 2010)
Four Service Members on Military Death Row at Fort Leavenworth, Army Private John Bennett was Last Military Execution by Hanging in 1961
Unusual Suspects Premiered ‘Mother’s Day Murders’ on ID: Timothy Hennis on Military Death Row for Murders of Kathryn, Cara & Erin Eastburn (October 8, 2012)
Death’s Door Podcast Featured the Case of Military Death Row Inmate Army MSG Timothy Hennis (September 14, 2017)
Murdered: The Eastburn Family | Crime Junkie Podcast (May 13, 2019)
Military Murder Podcast Premiered First Three Episodes on Veteran’s Day: Stephen Schap, Russell Williams, and Timothy Hennis (November 11, 2019)
Seven Intriguing True Crime Podcasts Spotlighting Active Duty Military Suicide, Missing, and Murder Cases
Violent Crime, Non Combat Death and Suicide at Fort Bragg, North Carolina (US Army)

Death’s Door Podcast Featured the Case of Military Death Row Inmate Army MSG Timothy Hennis (September 14, 2017)

“Timothy Hennis was sentenced to death for the murders of Katie Eastburn and her two daughters, Erin and Kara Eastburn. Katie was a military wife who lived on the Fort Bragg base with her husband and three daughters. This case takes a look at how important it is to follow investigatory protocol and how double jeopardy is actually interpreted in the legal system in a case that spans over two decades. Tune in to find out how this case unfolds, and where it stands today.” –The Case of Timothy Hennis, Death’s Door Podcast (September 14, 2017)

Related Links:
Three Trials for Murder
The Double Jeopardy Case Of Tim Hennis
Death’s Door Podcast (website)
Death’s Door Podcast (Facebook)
Death’s Door Podcast (Twitter)
The Case of Timothy Hennis | Death’s Door Podcast | Stitcher
The Case of Timothy Hennis | Death’s Door Podcast | PlayerFM
Air Force Spouse Kathryn Eastburn & Daughters Cara & Erin Found Murdered in Fayetteville, NC Home; Youngest Toddler Jana Discovered Unharmed (May 9, 1985)
A Military Jury Delivered a Guilty Verdict in a Death Penalty Trial to Retired Army MSG Timothy Hennis for the Triple Murders of Kathryn, Cara & Erin Eastburn (April 8, 2010)
In 3rd Trial, Retired Army MSG Timothy Hennis Sentenced to Death by Military Court Martial for the Murders of Kathryn, Cara & Erin Eastburn in NC (April 15, 2010)
Unusual Suspects Premiered ‘Mother’s Day Murders’ on ID: Timothy Hennis on Military Death Row for Murders of Kathryn, Cara & Erin Eastburn (October 8, 2012)
Military Murder Podcast Premiered First Three Episodes on Veteran’s Day: Stephen Schap, Russell Williams, and Timothy Hennis (November 11, 2019)
Seven Intriguing True Crime Podcasts Spotlighting Active Duty Military Suicide, Missing, and Murder Cases
Four U.S. Service Members on Military Death Row at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; Army Private John Bennett was Last Military Execution by Hanging in 1961
Tim Hennis murder trials surround double jeopardy issue
Resuming federal executions unlikely to affect military death row

Missing: Lackland AFB Nurse 1st Lt. Nonnie Dotson Disappeared; Last Seen at Brother’s Home in Littleton, Colorado While on Leave (November 19th, 2006)

Nonnie Dotson

1st Lt. Nonnie Dotson, U.S. Air Force

Editors Note: Need to get up to speed quick with the missing case of Lackland Air Force Base nurse Nonnie Dotson, please check out Episode 4 on the Military Murder Podcast

Air Force nurse 1st Lt. Nonnie Dotson, 33, was last seen by family members the afternoon of November 19th, 2006. She left her brother Tony Dotson’s residence in Littleton, Colorado where she had been visiting, and told him she was going to have a smoothie with friends. Dotson had no vehicle with her so she either left the residence on foot or was given a ride. Dotson had flown into Colorado by commercial airline on November 16, 2006 from San Antonio, Texas, where she was on active duty serving as a nurse at Lackland Air Force Base with the United States Air Force. She failed to return to active duty as scheduled and the return flight portion of her ticket was never used. She left behind a 16-month-old daughter at her brother’s home in Colorado. She was scheduled to discharge from the Air Force in March 2007.

“The day after Nonnie disappeared, police did get a ping from her cell phone not far from the area she was last seen. Dogs traced her scent there, but no evidence was found.” –9 News

Investigators believe Nonnie was taken against her will and her parents know she wouldn’t just walk off. Cold case detectives said solving the disappearance of Nonnie Dotson is going to take someone coming forward after all these years to say ‘this is what I know happened.’ Nonnie Dotson’s family is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to her whereabouts. The Denver Post reports, “the Doyles are using their retirement money for legal fees, and trying to sell their house in California with the hope of using the money to increase the reward to $100,000.” Please click here for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation case details for Nonnie Ann Dotson. Anyone with information about Nonnie’s disappearance is asked to call the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. A detective has been assigned to the case.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 303-271-5612. (Reference NamUs #MP10563)

Missing Poster:

Colorado Bureau of Investigation:

In the News:

“Nancy Grace America’s Missing” spotlights the case of missing 31-year-old Nonnie Dotson of San Antonio, Texas. -HLN (February 11, 2011)

Related Links:
Air Force: Nonnie Dotson Missing
Colorado Bureau of Investigation: Cold Case Files
Missing Veterans: Nonnie Ann Dotson
The Charley Project: Nonnie Ann Dotson
Wilford Hall nurse missing
Daughter of Missing Air Force Nurse Sick
Man Who Fathered Missing Woman’s Child Will Talk
Investigators talk to father of missing nurse’s daughter
Family of Missing Nurse Offers $10,000 Reward
Family of Missing Air Force Mom Offers $10,000 Reward for Information on Her Whereabouts
Family puts up reward to help locate nurse
Case Of Missing Air Force Nurse Grows Cold
Missing mom’s trail goes cold
Nurse didn’t show up for smoothie with friends
Nonnie Dotson: Nancy Grace America’s Missing
Rapist ‘offered $20,000 cash, a Mercedes-Benz and a $14,000 ring to fellow inmates to kill his victim before she testified’
Man Who Tried To Have His Rape Victim Killed Gets Maximum Sentence
Rapist Tony Dotson Guilty in Murder-For-Hire Bid Against Victim…and Sister Is Still Missing
‘Something happened to her:’ Family wants answers 10 years after single mom’s disappearance
Colorado Cold Cases: The Murders of These 3 Housewives Are Still Unsolved in Colorado
Fears Mount on Fate of Missing Air Force Nurse
HLN: Nancy Grace: America’s Missing (YouTube)
Episode 4 – The Disappearance of 1Lt Nonnie Dotson
Where Is Nonnie Dotson? – The Philosophy of Crime

Fort Campbell Army Pfc. LaVena Johnson Died of Non Combat Related Injuries in Iraq; Death Ruled Suicide But Independent Investigation Revealed Rape & Murder (July 19, 2005)

LaVena Johnson

Pfc. Lavena Johnson, U.S. Army

Editors Note: Need to get up to speed quick with the unsolved case of Fort Campbell Army Pfc. Lavena Johnson, please check out Episode 40 on the Military Murder Podcast.

Army Pfc. LaVena Johnson, 19, died of non combat related injuries in Balad, Iraq on July 19, 2005. Pfc. Johnson was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom on behalf of the Army’s 129th Corps Support Battalion in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Unlike most, the Department of Defense did not announce that LaVena’s death was under investigation in their press release. The Army Criminal Investigation Division later determined that Pfc. Johnson’s cause of death was suicide by self inflicted gunshot wound. The Army tried telling the family that LaVena used her own M-16 to commit suicide. The family immediately suspected foul play and ordered an autopsy for LaVena. LaVena was not depressed and showed no signs of suicidal ideation. As a matter of fact, she was happy and bubbly and looking forward to going home for Christmas. After the family saw LaVena’s body and obtained investigative documents from the Army, they quickly realized that LaVena did not commit suicide, she had been raped and murdered.

According to the family, the Army never investigated LaVena’s death as a homicide nor did they do a rape kit test or autopsy. The family gleaned from the paperwork that Army investigators first considered LaVena’s death a homicide and recorded that in their paperwork, but within a short window of opportunity were suddenly ordered to cease their investigation and reclassify her death as a suicide. Ten years later, LaVena’s father, Dr. John Johnson, continues to fight for justice for his daughter. And, although he has had struggles getting media coverage, he has forged out on his own to speak the truth for LaVena. Dr. Johnson is featured in a documentary called The Silent Truth which presents the heartbreaking story of his daughter LaVena. Pfc. LaVena Johnson was betrayed by the very people she depended on for her life, and the military industrial complex who would rather silence the truth then harm their reputation.

Petition: Reopen the investigation of LaVena Johnson’s death

In the News:

Nineteen year-old Army PFC LaVena Johnson, was found dead on a military base in Balad, Iraq in 2005. The U.S. Army ruled Lavena’s death a suicide, but an autopsy report and photographs revealed Johnson had a broken nose, black eye, loose teeth, burns from a corrosive chemical on her genitals, and a gunshot wound that seemed inconsistent with suicide. LaVena’s father, John Johnson, shares his family’s fight to get answers from the military about his daughter’s death. -Protect Our Defenders (July 14, 2012)

Pfc. LaVena Johnson died in Iraq on July 19th, 2005 and her family needs your help. -Unsolved Mysteries (September 26, 2014)

Many have heard about the efforts for justice in the case of Army PFC LaVena Johnson. In 2005 after only 6 weeks of her deployment in Iraq, PFC LaVena Johnson was found dead. The Army says suicide, but after close evaluation and discovering a plethora of discrepancies in the Army’s report, LaVena’s father Dr. John H. Johnson began the fight for justice for his daughter. On this episode of The Rock Newman Show our special guest are LaVena’s father, Dr. John H. Johnson and attorney Donald V. Watkins. We warn our viewers that this episode of The Rock Newman Show goes into deep detail concerning the evidence and death of PFC LaVena Johnson. Dr. John H. Johnson and Donald V. Watkins contend that by no means is this case a suicide, and say they even know the name of the culprit. -The Rock Newman Show (February 11, 2016) 

Learn more here: ACT Now! Stand for PFC LaVena Lynn Johnson

Related Links:
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
10 Unsolved Military Cases
The Silent Truth
Ten years later, a soldier’s family still grieves and questions the Army’s version of her death
LaVena Johnson: Army Still Calls Grisly Rape and Murder ‘Suicide’
A Political Season: Justice for PFC LaVena Johnson
What the Death of Army Pfc LaVena Johnson Says About Us
No Justice, No Peace: Remembering Pfc. LaVena Johnson (Includes Petition)
Justice for Pfc. LaVena Johnson?
Justice For LaVena Johnson: Raped & Murdered Or Suicide? The Evidence Says One Thing; U.S. Military Says Another
New Details Emerge After Second Autopsy of Pfc Lavena Johnson
Rape in the armed forces, Breaking the silence
Sexual Violence Against Women in the US Military: The Search for Truth and Justice
The Silent Truth Documentary aka The LaVena Johnson Murder Cover-Up
LaVena Johnson: Raped and Murdered on a Military Base in Iraq
What’s The Military Hiding About LaVena Johnson & Kamisha Block’s Deaths?
Family disputes Army’s suicide finding in daughter’s death
Suicide or Murder? Three Years After the Death of Pfc. LaVena Johnson in Iraq, Her Parents Continue Their Call for a Congressional Investigation
Soldier’s Family Challenges Army Suicide Report
The Scandal of Military Rape
Documents and photos suggest foul play in death of Private Johnson
Army Pvt. Lavena L. Johnson
Who Killed PFC LaVena Johnson???
Democracy Now: Pvt LaVena Johnson
The Mysterious Death of Lavena Johnson
LaVena Johnson’s Murder, An Analysis of Crime Scene
U.S. Army Covers Up Womans Murder and gets Caught!
“The U.S. Army Raped & Murdered My Daughter!!! Justice For Pfc LaVena Johnson!!!”
Black teen in the army raped and murdered but the army says it was suicide
Non Combat Deaths of Female Service Members in the U.S. Military (Iraq)
Conspiracy: Women in the US Military | Crime Junkie Podcast (website)
Army Pfc. LaVena Johnson Died of Non Combat Related Injuries in Iraq; Death Ruled Suicide But Independent Autopsy Revealed Rape & Murder (July 19, 2005)
‘The Silent Truth’ Documentary: The Rape, Murder & Military Cover-Up of Army Pfc. LaVena Johnson in Iraq (July 1, 2014)
Crime Junkie Podcast Featured the Suspicious Deaths of LaVena Johnson & Tina Priest in ‘Conspiracy: Women in the US Military’ (October 22, 2018)
The Strange & Unexplained: ‘The Biggest Suspicious Unsolved Military Mysteries’
15 Active Duty Cases That Beg for Prevention Efforts, Military Justice Reform, and the End of the Feres Doctrine
15 Movies & Documentaries That Expose the Broken Military Justice System
Military Murder Podcast Featured the Suspicious Case of Fort Campbell Army Pfc. Lavena Johnson in Balad, Iraq (July 27, 2020)

Fort Campbell Army Pfc. Barry Winchell Died of Injuries Sustained in a Baseball Bat Attack in the Barracks; Calvin Glover Sentenced to Life in Prison (July 5, 1999)

Barry Winchell

Pfc. Barry Winchell, U.S. Army (photo: wikipedia)

Vanity Fair Confidential featured an episode called Don’t Ask Don’t Kill on Investigation Discovery highlighting the case of Army Pfc. Barry Winchell at Fort Campbell, Kentucky in 1999. Winchell was bludgeoned to death by a fellow soldier while he lay asleep in his cot on July 5 in the barracks. Winchell was described by his friends as someone who would give the shirt off his back for you. He was a model soldier and had dreams of becoming a Warrant Officer. He was a member of the elite Screaming Eagles, 101st Airborne and was considered a perfect fit for the military. He was described by fellow soldiers as a 50 caliber expert.

After Barry Winchell died, the military immediately began downplaying what had occurred on base at Fort Campbell. They initially claimed it was a fight that had gone too far. They told the family that Barry Winchell had been kicked in the head with a boot but his injuries did not match that theory. As a result, the family and media outlets were convinced the military was hiding the real story and believed they were trying to cover up the crime. Why? The military concluded that this was a rare soldier on soldier attack in their barracks but the claim that he was kicked in the head did not match the crime scene either. Although the military was tasked with the investigation of the murder, they declined to speculate on a motive.

The Army was not cooperating with anyone. ~Vanity Fair Confidential

When Barry’s girlfriend Calpernia Addams learned about what happened to Barry, he was on life support and considered brain dead. He died twelve hours after the attack and she didn’t get an opportunity to see him. Calpernia learned that he had been murdered on base and believed that there was more to this story then what the Army was sharing. As a result, she set out to make sure both Barry’s parents and the media knew what she knew and suspected had happened. Calpernia was born a boy. She served in the US Navy as a transsexual and then once she got out of the military, she began her transition from man to woman. When Calpernia and Barry met, they hit it off immediately and started dating. When she met Barry, she was halfway to becoming a woman. She lovingly shared that Barry accepted her for who she was and supported her in her transition from man to woman.

Calpernia strongly believed that people were blurring the lines between whether Barry was gay or straight. She wanted people to know that he was straight and he liked women. Calpernia believed that Barry’s troubles began with an anonymous accusation that Barry was gay. She claimed that a fellow soldier said he saw Barry giving oral sex to a man in a Nashville gay bar. But no one believed it and his military comrades didn’t think he was gay.  Calpernia believed that it was Barry’s roommate, Justin Fisher, who started spreading the rumors in an effort to cause harm to Barry. In 1999 the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy was in effect and a soldier could in fact lose their career if they were found out. Justin Fisher didn’t have the best reputation. He was described as someone who thought he was a gangster even though he was from Nebraska. And some believed that Justin never should have been allowed to join the military.

According to Calpernia, Justin Fisher and Barry Winchell had a love/hate relationship. Fisher tormented him, joked about his sexuality, about him being a homosexual, and kept calling him a faggot. He told others that he didn’t trust him and eventually openly spread rumors that Barry was gay. Fisher also blackmailed Barry with his alleged homosexuality. He told their Non Commissioned Officers (NCOs) about him being gay knowing that Barry could lose his career under the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) policy. Back in those days, once accused of being gay, you were dead in the water in a military setting. Some believe this case reveals that if gone unchecked the military can become an incubator for hate. At the time of DADT, it was virtually impossible to report anti-gay harassment and Barry’s family and friends were not quite sure how he dealt with the regular doses of harassment. As evidenced in this case and many others, he had nowhere to turn without fear of losing his cherished career.

At the time of DADT, it was virtually impossible to report anti-gay harassment without fear of losing your career. ~Vanity Fair Confidential

The military was in charge of the investigation because the crime occurred on a federal base. As with many cases, family, friends, and the media forced the Army to be accountable for what happened on their base on their watch. So as the investigation into Barry’s Winchell’s death continued, we learned what actually  happened. Calvin Glover, an eighteen year old new recruit, was ultimately charged with the murder of Barry Winchell. Observers felt that he did it because of a combination of too many men, too much alcohol, and too little to do. The day before the murder, Calvin and Winchell got into a fight. Apparently Winchell dealt him one punch in the face and he went down. Calvin who was highly intoxicated swore he would get him back but Winchell apologized to him the next day and it appeared that everything was fine. Unfortunately, Justin Fisher (Winchell’s roommate) was provoking Calvin all day long asking him if he was going to take Winchell’s abuse.

That same night after Calvin Glover had consumed seventeen beers, he decided he was going to bed. Fisher went to his room and told him that Barry was telling everyone that he beat him up and they were all laughing about it. Fisher handed Calvin a wooden bat, suggested he hit Barry with it, and Calvin said he felt compelled to use it. In a drunken, peer pressured stupor, Calvin hit Barry Winchell multiple times in the head with the wooden bat. Barry Winchell was asleep and couldn’t defend himself. After Calvin was done hitting Barry, Fisher was laughing, jumping up and down, and told Calvin that they would keep it in the family. Then Calvin immediately began to destroy evidence. Fisher acted like he stumbled upon Winchell on the cot and was trying to help him. The soldiers tried calling 911 but they were not able to get through to emergency services on a base phone. Barry was taken to the hospital and twelve hours later, he was dead. Everyone in the barracks was wondering who would come in the barracks and kill them.

The soldiers tried calling 911 but they were not able to get through to emergency services on a base phone. ~Vanity Fair Confidential

In the course of the investigation, Justin Fisher eventually identified Calvin Glover as the culprit. As a result of Calpernia Addams and others that stepped forward, we learned that there was more to the story underneath the surface. We learned that Justin Fisher had a much larger role in the crime then he was willing to admit. Justin Fisher introduced Calpernia Addams to Barry Winchell. Apparently Justin Fisher was interested in Calpernia Addams and after she chose Barry, he asked her if she would hook him up with one of her drag queen friends. Justin ended up hooking up with Kimmie Mayfield, who was a man. Everyone suspected that Justin was interested in guys because of his relationship with Kimmie. They hooked up several times in the course of a few months. We also learned this wasn’t Justin’s first walk on the wild side. He had a history of experimentation. Barry shared with Calpernia that one time he woke up to Justin playing with his feet. Calpernia deduced that Justin may have been jealous of Calpernia being with Barry or vice versa. It was noted that people tend to hate those who remind them of something they don’t want to face.

In the end about 90% of the soldiers who served with Barry Winchell, Calvin Glover, and Justin Fisher didn’t think this was a hate crime but instead a crime of passion. They did not witness any anti-gay rage; but they did witness too much alcohol. One of the soldiers believed that Justin Fisher also hit Barry Winchell with the bat because of the blood spatter evidence left at the crime scene. It matched someone who was left handed and Fisher was left handed. One of the soldiers mentioned this to Fisher and Fisher told him he was in the wrong career and should be a detective instead. The soldiers who served with them believed that Justin Fisher was the murderer and Calvin Glover was the murder weapon. Calvin felt pressured by Justin Fisher to hit Winchell while he was intoxicated. It is suspected that Fisher hit Winchell with the bat as well and may have been the one that dealt the fatal blows. Calvin participated in the Vanity Fair programming by phone from prison and did in fact express remorse for his role in Barry Winchell’s death.

Both Calvin Glover and Justin Fisher were court martialed. In the end, Calvin Glover was convicted of pre-meditated murder and was sentenced to life in prison with an opportunity for parole. Justin Fisher was charged as an accessory and restricted to his barracks while he was going through trial. Observers felt that it was ridiculous that Fisher was restricted to his barracks when in fact he was the mastermind of the murder. He too was convicted and sentenced to twelve and half years but was released early in 2006 after only serving seven years. Observers felt that Justin Fisher’s sentence was a miscarriage of justice considering it never would have happened if it wasn’t for him pushing Calvin Glover to hit Barry Winchell with the baseball bat that night. Justin Fisher now lives in the Mid-West and declined to comment on this Vanity Fair episode. He walks as a free man. In retrospect, Calvin Glover shared that he feels like this was a love triangle gone wrong and he wishes that he could take it all back.

At the end of the programming, Pat and Wally Kutteles (Barry’s parents) shared that they sent their son off to serve in the military, they did not send him off to be beaten to death with a bat while he was sleeping. Dixon Osborn from the Servicemen’s Legal Defense Network (SLDN) believed that the military simply wanted to sweep it under the rug with no connection to the gay reference. The military hoped the general public, the media, and Barry’s parents would just accept that it was a drunken brawl. All those involved felt like the military investigation was a joke. Calpernia Addams, Barry’s parents and friends, and the SLDN wanted to honor Barry’s memory by exposing the truth about Barry’s untimely death. They used Barry Winchell’s case as a catalyst to lift the dangerous Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy. According to those involved, President Bill Clinton’s DADT policy was the biggest mistake ever for the military because it taught people to lie. At the peak of DADT, there were 3-4 soldiers discharged per day for their sexual orientation. DADT was a failure of the Clinton administration.

All those involved felt like the military investigation was a joke. ~Vanity Fair Confidential

In an interesting twist, the Commander who was in charge at the time of the death of Barry Winchell sparked protest in Washington DC in 2000 when he was reassigned to the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon. In response, Eric Shinseki, the Army’s Chief of Staff, stated that General Clark’s command at Fort Campbell had been “distinguished by great competence and compassionate leadership. The Army has placed its trust and confidence in Major General Clark and I am confident he will continue to excel in service to our nation.” The military concluded in a public statement that this was the first gay bashing murder in over ten years and that soldier on soldier violence was rare. In October 1999, President Clinton signed an executive order increasing penalties for hate crimes in the military justice code and allowed a sentencing authority to hear evidence that a violent crime was based on race, color or sexual orientation. However, the order only applied to crimes committed after Nov. 30, 1999.

Barry Winchell’s parents lobbied with the SLDN to help change the DADT policy after losing their son. Even though their son was not gay, he was accused of being gay which eventually led to his death.  Roughly ten years later in 2010, President Barack Obama signed a historic bill ending the DADT policy, a policy that compelled gay and lesbian service members to hide their sexual orientation. The ending of the policy made it official for gays and lesbians to serve openly in the Armed Forces. President Obama said he “hopes all those who left the service because of the policy will seek to re-enlist. And he encouraged all gays to consider service.” Although, gays and lesbians were cautioned to keep their identity to themselves until the law was official in 2011. This comes as one of the first major actions by Secretary Defense Leon Panetta, who had been on the job for three weeks. SecDef Panetta also lifted the ban on women in combat in 2013. Our military is now officially equal in all respects.

Related Links:
Pfc Barry L Winchell Memorial Page | Facebook
American Justice: A Soldier’s Secret
Don’t Ask, Don’t Kill: Inside the Murder of Soldier Barry Winchell | Vanity Fair
The Barry Winchell Case Helped End the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy in the Military
Showtime Entertainment Released ‘Soldier’s Girl’: Based on the True Story of the Murder of Fort Campbell Army Pfc. Barry Winchell (January 20, 2003)
15 Movies & Documentaries That Expose the Broken Military Justice System
Pentagon is accused of cover-up in gay murder at army base
Witness: Private Admitted Killing | AP
Hate May Have Triggered Fatal Barracks Beating
DoD Clarifies “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Policy
Army Private Guilty Of Murder
Army private found guilty of planned murder
Oklahoman convicted Army says Sulphur man guilty in other’s murder
Soldier Gets Life With Parole | Associated Press
Soldier Gets Life with Parole | Chicago Tribune
Soldier guilty of lesser charge in base death
Soldier Gets 12 1/2 Years in Prison for His Role in Beating Death
A statement on the murder of Private First Class Barry Winchell
Army Exonerates Officers In Slaying of Gay Private
Commanders cleared in fort murder of gay soldier
Army Report: Base Not Anti-Gay
Military Gay Policy Defended
Family of murdered gay soldier sues U.S. Army for wrongful death
Mother Plans to Sue Army After Son Beaten to Death
For Love of Country | SFGate
Gay dismissals up after Army death
Gay discharges on rise in Army and Navy
Nomination of former Fort Campbell commander in limbo
Congressional Record Volume 149, Number 167 (Tuesday, November 18, 2003)
Bush Re-Nominates Controversial Major General to High Post
Major General Robert Clark: Promoted
Military prosecutor says soldier hated gays
Parents of murdered Army private speak out
Former soldier convicted in Winchell murder released
Army releases soldier convicted in connection with anti-gay murder
Army Releases Barry Winchell Murder Conspirator, 5 Years Early
Gays in the Military: Does a Sailor’s Murder Signal Deeper Problems?
Commentary: Murdered soldier’s parents know ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is wrong
Commentary: Murdered soldier’s parents know ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is wrong
Murdered soldier’s parents: Repeal ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’
Remembering Pfc. Barry Winchell on the 10th Anniversary of His Murder
Episode features Winchell story
Patricia Kutteles was a military mother who helped repeal ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’
Patricia Kutteles, Driven by Tragedy to End ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
Patricia Kutteles, military mother who helped repeal ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ dies at 67
Episode 12 The Murder of PFC Barry Winchell: Casualty and Martyr of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell | Southern Fried True Crime Podcast
Episode 32: The Murder of Barry Winchell (Part 1) | Military Murder Podcast
Ep33. MURDER: The Murder of Barry Winchell (Part 2) | Military Murder Podcast
Violent Crime, Suicide & Non Combat Death at Fort Campbell, Kentucky (US Army)