Kansas Army National Guard Veteran Zachary Schaffer Found Unresponsive in Kansas City Home; Death Ruled Fatal Drug Overdose (January 23, 2019)

Zachary Schaffer

Spc. Zachary Schaffer, Kansas Army National Guard

Kansas Army National Guard veteran Zachary Schaffer, 21, was found unresponsive in his Kansas City, Kansas home on January 23, 2019. According to the Dodge City Daily Globe, Zachary fatally overdosed only a few days after he was punished and discharged from the Kansas Army National Guard. According to his mother, Wendy Mottas, Zachary, or Zach, as he was known to most, was accused of failing to show up for multiple weekend drills and discharged with an “other than honorable.” In the midst of losing his military career and eventually his security clearance, Zach was flagged by his command for the prescribed use of Adderall to treat ADHD, even after he was reassured it was okay for him to take the prescription. Wendy doesn’t know if her son’s death was intentional, but stated Zach began suffering with depression and substance abuse during his time in service with the Kansas Army National Guard. Zach went from being a stellar soldier at the age of 19 to being hired as a full time military technician to losing that same position less than one year later for reasons undisclosed. Six months after being fired by the Kansas Army National Guard, he was also passed over for deployment to Afghanistan, having been told he was ‘red flagged’ for the use of Adderall. Six months later, Zach would also experience sadness and grief after losing his friend, 24 year-old Kansas Army National Guardsman Khamis Naser, who died by suicide on July 31, 2018.

Zach grew up in the Hutchinson, Kansas area and joined the Kansas Army National Guard in May 2014. Zach’s mother, also an Army veteran, said he was born in Germany when she was in the military. Zach came from a military family and it was a natural fit for him too. Wendy shared Zach was always intelligent and she knew he would be successful because he was very skilled in anything related to computers and coding. After Zach completed Army basic training and specialty training, he progressed quickly as a soldier and eventually got a full-time job with the Kansas Army National Guard at age 19. Zach was a federal military technician (Personnel Security Technician: GS-7) during the week and on Guard weekends, he was an Intelligence Analyst (E-4). Zach’s downward spiral began when he lost his full-time job as a federal technician and was made to feel incompetent by those who also originally built him up to be a great soldier with a bright future in the military. Zach’s mother does not know why Zach was fired during the probationary period, but she does suspect that Zach had information about other National Guard members whose misconduct were overlooked during routine background checks so they could maintain their security clearances.

Once Zach lost his full-time position, he went from being a professional soldier to not caring about anything anymore. He moved from his home in Topeka, Kansas to Lawrence, Kansas and became somewhat estranged from the family. Zach became secretive, fell in with the wrong crowd, stopped going to therapy and became reliant on self-medicating to take care of the pain of depression he was feeling.  Realizing this lifestyle was not healthy, Zach moved back home to Junction City and tried to get his life together in early January 2018. After about three months of living at home, he discovered the Kansas Army National Guard unit in Junction City, Kansas was tasked with a deployment to Afghanistan, to which he inquired and expressed interest to the unit’s leadership. The leadership put him through mobilization procedures for nearly a month and then his deployment orders to Afghanistan were cancelled citing he had been flagged during the pre-deployment process for Adderall use. Zach was prescribed Adderall for the diagnosis ADHD and his mother states he was prescribed the drug due to a struggle with concentration and focus. Once Zach was flagged, someone made the decision to prevent him from deploying to Afghanistan and his mother does not know if his National Guard unit influenced the decision at that time or not.

Zach was looking forward to the deployment. Instead his orders to Afghanistan were cancelled and it was then Zach started meeting regularly with mental health personnel for depression. It is unknown what Zach may have shared with health care professionals, but his family realized something changed in Zach’s life. Shortly after, Zach moved from Junction City to Kansas City with a friend with which his family was not familiar. He remained distant from his family and friends. Worse yet, the same military officer (O-4) who made the decision to fire Zachary from his full-time military technician position also influenced National Guard unit leadership to end Zach’s military career in its entirety. Leadership observed the changes in Zach’s attendance and behavior. Instead of helping him, they used it to revoke his security clearance knowing he needed a security clearance for his job as an intelligence specialist in the National Guard and his full-time job with the Marine Corps. During this time, the only thing done to assist Zach or try to get to the root of the issues he was having was to refer him to the unit’s social work office. At some point, this social worker was told to ‘stand down’ and allow the unit’s part-time civilian social worker to take care of his issues. To his mother’s knowledge, this individual never contacted Zach to offer support and he was never offered any type of assistance including participation in the Army Substance Abuse Program.

In early July 2018, Zach contacted his mom and stated he wanted to go to an inpatient rehabilitation program. He self-admitted to the substance abuse program to help him stop his drug dependency and get his life back on track. The day after Zach left the rehabilitation program and returned to Kansas City, he learned his best friend and fellow National Guardsman, Khamis Naser, had died by suicide. Zach told his mother he had talked to Khamis only five hours before he was found dead in his apartment. Zach attended the August 2018 drill weekend and his mother said he told her he was met with disdain from his leadership. Zach’s mother states she has text messages from her son indicating the NCOs in his unit were bullying him. Zach told her they said his best friend would still be alive if he ‘wouldn’t have been high’ and ‘would’ve been there for him’ (Khamis). After Zach was blamed for the death of his friend, he got in a physical confrontation with one of his NCOs. During another drill weekend, word got around the unit that leadership wanted to ‘get rid of that “shitbag”’ (referring to Zach) because he made the unit ‘look bad.’ Despite the ill treatment by the Kansas Army National Guard, Zach picked himself up and got a new job as a civilian contractor for the Marine Corps in Kansas City at age 21. Unfortunately, a short time after he got the job, he was terminated when he learned the National Guard had suspended his security clearance. At this point, Zach had no income, including from his drill weekends, due to a status discrepancy. Zach was still considered in ‘active duty’ status because of the deployment orders to Afghanistan and no one in his military leadership would assist him to get transferred back to his original unit. His mother states he discussed this with someone at his unit who agreed with him — why bother going to weekend drill if he was getting bullied and not receiving any pay? He stopped attending drill after September of 2018 and once again became estranged from his family. He would never return to the National Guard.

According to the Kansas Adjutant General’s Department, the Kansas Army National Guard suicide prevention program is “based on the premise that suicide prevention will be accomplished through the positive action of unit leaders and implementation of command policy. The key to the prevention of suicide is positive leadership and honest concern by supervisors for military personnel who are at risk of suicide and appropriate intervention for all such personnel.” Khamis Naser died by suicide in July 2018 and six months later in January 2019, Zach Schaffer died of a fatal drug overdose. How did the Kansas Army National Guard’s suicide prevention program help Khamis and Zach? Although we don’t know why Khamis Naser chose to die by suicide, we do know he was a current member of the Kansas Army National Guard. One would think losing a fellow comrade would initiate a more proactive suicide prevention approach yet instead we learn the very people tasked with a “positive and honest concern by supervisors” for military personnel at risk of suicide and appropriate intervention was not implemented in the last couple of years. Zach was a soldier dealing with the loss of his full-time job, grief from the loss of his friend, the loss of his military career, and the loss of his security clearance. Military leadership knew Zach was not well and they knew he was a risk to himself.

The top 10 most stressful life events include death of a loved one, separation, starting a new job, workplace stressors, financial problems, and chronic illness/injury. Zach’s mom shares he was dealing with six out of ten of those stressful life events at the age of 21. Wendy wonders why the military wouldn’t be especially cognizant of the fact they are molding young kids into warriors at a very impressionable time in life. At a time when young adults need guidance most, instead in the military environment, they are forced to deal with additional stressors, caused by military leadership in Zach’s case. Why would the same organization at the root of the cause of the downward spiral of young lives be interested in also pretending to care about suicide prevention of those same personnel? The moment Zach was let go from his full-time job was the moment he started to struggle. Why did he get let go? Why did it contribute to a need to use drugs to self-medicate? And one can only imagine the kind of grief Zach experienced after losing a close friend in such a tragic way. Did anyone refer Khamis or Zachary to mental health programs or the Department of Veterans Affairs?

It appears Zach’s source of pain or original stressor began when he lost his full-time federal military technician position as a Personnel Security Technician. After Zach lost Khamis, another high-paying job and his military career, his downward spiraled accelerated. Zach was dead less than six months after his friend passed. How can the National Guard implement a suicide prevention program when they are the suspected cause of the unit members’ downward spiral? Why did the National Guard choose to characterize ADHD treatment as a ‘mental health risk’? The prescription was used to assist with concentration and focus. Why would Adderall negatively impact a deployment when it is a fact the active duty deploy personnel on all kinds of prescribed medications? Why not help Zach transfer from Active Duty status back to his National Guard unit so he would be paid for drill weekends? How did Zach go from successfully holding great positions of responsibility within the unit to losing his entire military career? Why did they give Zach an ‘other than honorable’ discharge knowing it will negatively impact the rest of one’s working life, never mind the impact losing a security clearance has on anyone’s future financial security. Why did Zach have to lose everything? How does that help his mental health?

Wendy Mottas told the Dodge City Daily Globe that there is a stigma to be tough in the military. And this was confirmed the day the National Guard decided Zach was a “mental health risk” because he had a prescription for ADHD he wasn’t even currently taking. Each Commander has the ultimate say on whether or not an individual can still perform despite taking medication. The prescription was for concentration and focus and not something that had to be a military career ender. Wendy said her son could have used extra support following Khamis’s death and that she would like to see mental health be taken more seriously by the Kansas Army National Guard. While she realizes there were many factor’s influencing Zach’s death, she doesn’t understand why the National Guard wouldn’t offer to help him like so many soldiers with substance abuse are assisted. In Zachary’s case it appears leadership actively contributed to the decline of Zach’s mental health. Who at the Kansas Army National Guard would offer help to Zach after the chain of command (supervisors and leadership) decides a soldier is a “shitbag”? How does the Kansas Army National Guard implement a command driven suicide prevention program when they are the same leadership contributing to a downward spiral? How can the same people tasked with punishing their personnel with a heavy hand simultaneously help prevent a suicide or untimely death of young soldiers? At the very least, in this situation, the National Guard needs to upgrade this soldier’s other than honorable discharge to honorable to make this right for Zach and his family.  It’s one thing to let someone go, it’s an entirely different thing when a person’s life and future is destroyed.

“The military still has to take some responsibility for this, I think, and I think more could have been done to be preventative and be proactive instead of reactive. They have a responsibility to these young men and women. It’s not to live their lives for them or to be mommy or daddy or anything like that, but the soldiers still have to live by the army creed, and in order to do that, they have a role in that.” -Wendy Mottas (quote in Dodge City Daily Globe)

Source: Wendy Mottas (Zachary Schaffer’s mother)

Related Links:
Obituary: Zachary L. Schaffer, Kansas Army National Guard
Obituary: Khamis A. Naser, Kansas Army National Guard
Kansas National Guard captain submits resignation in wake of suicides
Kansas National Guard captain submits resignation in wake of suicides
Kansas National Guard Captain Submits Resignation in Wake of Suicides
Kansas National Guard captain submits resignation over handling of suicides
Kansas National Guard captain submits resignation over concerns of soldier suicide
Kansas Guard captain resigns over concern about suicides
Kansas Guard brigade captain resigns over suicide concerns
Kansas Guard brigade captain resigns over suicide concerns
Governor Kelly to sign bill aimed at preventing National Guard suicide
Sen. Moran, Bipartisan Colleagues Raise Concerns Over Alarming Increase in National Guard Suicides
Moran requests DOD review of rising National Guard suicide rate
Sen. Moran joins bi-partisan group of senators addressing national guard suicides
Bi-Partisan Senate Group Calls Attention to National Guard Suicide Rate
Department of Veterans Affairs: National Guard and Reserve
10 Most Stressful Life Events

Washington State Supreme Court Outlawed Death Penalty; Serial Killer Robert Yates’ Death Sentence Converted To Life in Prison (October 11, 2018)

Robert Lee Yates Ranker

Robert Lee Yates, Army National Guard Retired (photo: Ranker)

The Victims:
July 13, 1975: Patrick Oliver
July 13, 1975: Susan Savage
December 28, 1988: Stacy E. Hawn 
August 25, 1996: Patricia Barnes
June 14, 1996: Shannon Zielinski
August 26, 1997: Heather Hernandez
August 26, 1997: Jennifer Joseph
November 5, 1997: Darla Scott
December 7, 1997: Melinda Mercer
December 18, 1997: Shawn Johnson
December 26, 1997: Laurie Wason
February 8, 1998: Sunny Oster
April 1, 1998: Linda Maybin
May 12, 1998: Melody Murfin
July 7, 1998: Michelyn Derning
October 13, 1998: Connie LaFontaine Ellis

Source: Robert Lee Yates | Murderpedia, the encyclopedia of murderers

Click here for another list of Victims of Robert Lee Yates from Serial Killers Podcast.

“According to the Spokane Spokesman-Review, the German federal police are looking into the deaths of 26 prostitutes with assistance from U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Command. Yates, a former Navy helicopter pilot, was stationed in Goeppingen, Germany, from 1988 to 1991. The FBI has found the black van he allegedly owned in Germany and has searched it for evidence.” –Whidbey News-Times (October 18, 2000)

UPDATE:
Gov. Jay Inslee announces capital punishment moratorium
Washington pauses to reflect on death penalty
Supreme Court outlaws death penalty in Washington
State declares death penalty unconstitutional
Social worker who served Yates’ victims supports end of death penalty

In the News:

Spokane Serial Killer Robert Yates will be learning Thursday whether or not his death penalty conviction for the murders of two women near Tacoma will be overturned by the Washington State Supreme Court. -4 News Now (September 28, 2007)

In a majority opinion the Washington State Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from Spokane Serial Killer Robert Yates and upheld his death sentence for the murders of two women in Pierce County in the late 1990s. -4 News Now (September 28, 2007)

Spokane Serial Killer Robert Yates has been transferred from death row in Walla Walla to Pierce County where he will be in court Friday as Judge John McCarthy signs his death warrant. -4 News Now (September 5, 2008)

Kathy Lloyd feared that Robert Yates would live longer than her. He killed her sister, Shawn McLenahan. Now a Tacoma judge will sign Yates’ death warrant, and Lloyd is hoping Yates will die soon. -4 News Now (September 5, 2008)

Attorneys for convicted Spokane Serial Killer Robert Yates have filed their application for a stay of his execution which is scheduled for later this month. -4 News Now (September 9, 2008)

Spokane Serial Killer Robert Yates is claiming he had ineffective legal counsel in his latest appeal of his death sentence for the killings of two women in Pierce County in the late 1990s. -4 News Now (May 22, 2013)

Related Links:
Serial Murder — FBI
Robert Lee Yates | Murderpedia, the encyclopedia of murderers
Police Looking for Worldwide Trail of Death
Robert Lee Yates, Jr.: The missing years: Big time lapses between killing sprees
Serial killer’s wife suspected Yates was having affairs
Yates sentenced to life in prison
Jury finds Yates guilty of aggravated murder
Retired Army National Guard Pilot & Serial Killer Robert Lee Yates, Jr. Convicted of 2 More Murders in Washington; Sentenced to Death (September 19, 2002)
Jury Decides on Death for Serial Killer
Serial killer Yates sentenced to death (October 3, 2002)
Victims’ relatives take stand
Family letters to prosecutor in death penalty plea ruled ‘private’
Serial killer Yates calls death penalty unfair
Supreme Court to rule on Serial Killer’s appeal
Supreme Court upholds Yates death sentence
Judge to sign serial killer’s death warrant.
Spokane serial killer to be executed
Judge sets Sept. 19 execution date for serial killer Robert Lee Yates Jr.
Yates’ death still won’t bring closure to sister of victim
Spokane Serial Killer files for stay of execution
Serial killer Robert Yates Jr. seeks federal appeal of death sentence
Serial Killer Robert Yates Appealing Death Sentence
Former Oak Harbor resident Robert Yates appealing death sentence
Serial killer Robert Yates Jr. seeks federal appeal of death sentence
Serial killer Robert Yates claims ineffective counsel in latest death penalty appeal
Serial killer Robert Yates claims ineffective counsel in latest death penalty appeal
Spokane serial killer Robert Yates’ petition rejected by Washington Supreme Court
Death Sentence Upheld for Spokane Serial Killer
State Supreme Court denies serial killer’s plea
Gov. Jay Inslee announces capital punishment moratorium
Washington pauses to reflect on death penalty
Death penalty still stands for serial killer Robert Yates
State Supreme Court rejects serial killer Yates’ petition
Serial killer Robert Yates still fighting sentencing error
Case of serial killer Robert Yates heading back to state Supreme Court
Convicted serial killer Robert Yates expected in court Monday
Spokane serial killer back in court
Spokane serial killer’s attorney accuses juror of misconduct
Wife’s shock: My hubby buried a body in the backyard
Spokane Serial Killer Bob Yates Was Sentenced to Death Almost 20 Years Ago, Here’s Why He’s Still Alive
Supreme Court outlaws death penalty in Washington
State declares death penalty unconstitutional
Social worker who served Yates’ victims supports end of death penalty
The Story Of The Serial Killer Who Terrorized This Washington Town Is Truly Frightening
Robert Lee Yates Is The Most Deranged Killer You’ve Never Heard Of
The Spokane Killer: The Life of Serial Killer Robert Lee Yates Jr. (book)
America’s deadliest serial killers
Serial Killers Fast Facts

Investigation Discovery:
Unusual Suspects Premiered ‘Monster in Spokane’ on ID: Serial Killer in Washington is Retired National Guard Pilot Robert Lee Yates, Jr. (July 19, 2010)
Monster in Spokane | Unusual Suspects | Investigation Discovery (S1,E6)
Monster in Spokane | Unusual Suspects | Investigation Discovery (website)
Monster in Spokane | Unusual Suspects | Investigation Discovery (Prime Video)
Cable show to feature Yates serial killer case
American Monster Premiered ‘Family Snapshot’ on ID: Bob Yates’ Family Shocked Military Hero Father & Spouse is a Serial Killer (July 16, 2017)
Family Snapshot | American Monster | Investigation Discovery (S2,E2)
Family Snapshot | American Monster | Investigation Discovery (website)
Family Snapshot | American Monster | Investigation Discovery (Prime Video)
American Monster takes a look at Spokane serial killer Robert Lee Yates
Scene of the Crime with Tony Harris Premiered ‘Down by the River’ on Investigation Discovery: Serial Killer Robert Lee Yates, Jr. (June 4, 2018)
Down by the River | Scene of the Crime w/ Tony Harris | Investigation Discovery (S2,E1)
Down by the River | Scene of the Crime w/ Tony Harris | Investigation Discovery (website)
Down by the River | Scene of the Crime w/ Tony Harris | Investigation Discovery (Prime Video)
Spokane serial killer Robert Lee Yates murdered at least 13 people – Tony Harris recounts the investigation

Fatal Vows Premiered ‘Death Outranks Love’ on Investigation Discovery: Roger Holland Murdered Wife Margorie After She Learned He Lied About Everything (October 6, 2018)

ID Go: It’s a military match made in heaven for Roger and Margorie. But a tangled nest of financial secrets and twisted lies ruins the young couple’s future. And while the rise of their careers and romance seems meteoric, the ensuing fall is deadly. -Death Outranks Love, Fatal Vows (S6, E10)

Date: March 7, 2013
Victim: Margorie Holland, Army National Guard veteran, pregnant
Offender: Roger Holland, Army National Guard veteran, unemployed
Location: Apple Valley, Minnesota
Circumstances: Army soldier Margorie Brown of Minnesota met Army soldier Roger Holland of Missouri in the National Guard, Margorie’s ex-husband was abusive, both of them spent months overseas while serving, they eloped after a year of courtship, lived in Texas with Margorie’s brother, Margorie trusted Roger to take care of all the bills, Roger had no credit, Margorie had good credit, they bought everything in Margorie’s name, they were both E-7s making good money, they traveled a lot, Roger asked Margorie’s brother for a $6,000 loan and asked him not to tell Margorie, Margorie was unaware of the financial issues, Margorie got pregnant, they both left the military so they could focus on their family, they spent $20,000 on baby items and leased a couple new vehicles, Margorie stayed home and Roger was working for a private security contractor (claimed he made $140,000 a year), Roger never paid back Margorie’s brother, Margorie found out about a late payment notice in her name, learned they were in debt and everything was in her name, Margorie confronted Roger about the debt but he assured her it was under control, days later, something didn’t feel right so Margorie followed Roger to work and realized he wasn’t working, he was hanging out at coffee shops during the day as if he had a job but there was never a job, Roger is feeling trapped and starting to panic, Margorie confronted Roger about him not having a job, Margorie had a temper too and she would escalate but Roger always had a knack for calming her down, they had an argument at her parent’s house and she threatened him with divorce, Margorie was ready to leave Roger when he told her he got a new job in Texas and they could move to be closer to her brother, Margorie was found dead at the bottom of the stairs in their home, Roger alleged he found Margorie at the bottom of the stairs when he returned home, he believed she tripped and fell down the stairs, he gave the police his phone to prove that he had been outside the home when Margorie died, police noticed some scratches on Roger’s neck, Roger said Margorie scratched him in the morning while he was comforting her during some pregnancy cramps, the medical examiner discovered Margorie’s thyroid cartilage was broken during the autopsy which meant she had been strangled to death and this was a homicide, Margorie was 15 weeks pregnant, when police reviewed the financial records, they discovered the couple were $166,000 in debt, mostly credit cards and vehicle leases, the presumed motive was that Roger essentially built a house of cards, they also discovered a life insurance policy that he was the beneficiary of, then the police discovered Margorie was looking for any way out possible (she googled when it was safe to get an abortion), Roger did a google search about how to kill Margorie (he planned her murder), Roger was arrested for Margorie’s murder, Margorie had also learned that there was no job in Texas and that was a lie too, she learned that Roger accessed her money and used her name to get credit cards, police deduced that Margorie fought for her life in the struggle but Roger overpowered her and strangled her to death; Roger was charged with two counts of first degree murder (one for Margorie and one for the unborn baby)
Disposition: Roger Holland was found guilty of first degree murder and given two life sentences on December 16, 2013; Margorie’s family asked for consecutive sentences

Margorie Holland

Margorie Brown Holland (Photo: Investigation Discovery)

Source: “Death Outranks Love” Fatal Vows, Investigation Discovery

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch all of the Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. Download the ID Go app and binge away. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $2.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict.

Related Links:
Grand Jury Returns First-Degree Murder Indictment for Holland
Apple Valley man charged with murder of wife, unborn child
Minnesota Man Charged With Killing Pregnant Wife, Unborn Child
Roger Holland of Apple Valley allegedly murdered pregnant wife, attempted coverup
Man researched neck fractures before pregnant wife’s killing, police say
Trial set for man accused of killing pregnant wife
Defense: Death Of Fetus Was Abortion, Not Murder
Man accused of killing pregnant wife claims fetus’ death was abortion
Minnesota man argues fetal homicide was not a homicide but an “abortion”
Attorney Argues Death of Fetus in Minnesota Case Was Unlawful Abortion, Not Murder
Jury deliberating in Holland Murder Case
Apple Valley man found guilty of four counts of murder
Roger Holland convicted on all counts of murdering pregnant wife
Minnesota man convicted in murders of wife and their unborn child
Former National Guard member found guilty of strangling his wife while she was pregnant with their first child
Minn. man gets life in slaying of pregnant wife
Roger Holland sentenced to life in prison for murder of pregnant wife
Holland sentenced to two life sentences in murder of pregnant wife
Roger Holland gets two consecutive life terms for killing pregnant wife
Death Outranks Love | Fatal Vows | Investigation Discovery (S6, E10)

A Month in Review: In the News on Military Justice for All (June 2018)

June 2018

Missing:
Disappeared: Stacy McCall, Suzie Streeter, and Sherrill Levitt are ‘The Springfield Three’ who Vanished from Levitt’s Missouri Home on June 7, 1992
Friends, family of missing UMass nursing student Maura Murray hope funds will lead to answers

Cold Cases:
Family wants justice for Army vet found shot to death in driveway
Authorities Have Cracked a Bizarre Cold Case That Could Have Ties to the Zodiac Killer
48 Hours Premiered ’48 Hours Cold Case: Who Killed Amy Gellert?’ on CBS (June 17, 2017)

Fugitives:
Reward Offered for Armed & Dangerous Fugitive: Army Recruiter John Blauvelt Wanted for Allegedly Murdering Estranged Wife in South Carolina (2017)

Continue reading

Extraordinary Claims Should Require Extraordinary Evidence (June 26, 2018)

National GuardGuest Post by Liz Ullman:

Enrique Costas comes from four generations of dignified and recognized military service. His grandfather’s name is in the history books as one of the first soldiers to join the Puerto Rico National Guard to serve the United States. His father defended this country for 32 years, earning an Air Medal for heroism in Vietnam; his nephew will be commissioned as an officer in the next week and will be going on active duty.

Costas enlisted in the Puerto Rico National Guard in 1988. In 1999 he volunteered to be assigned as a Recruiter, earning top awards and commendations throughout his almost 14 years as the Senior Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) of the Puerto Rico Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention (RR) Command office in San Juan. He was also selected and participated for seven years in the Puerto Rico National Guard Honor Guard, the team responsible for carrying our Nation’s and Army Colors in the highest of the Government’s activities and celebrations.

He was responsible for achieving monthly production for the three main tenets of the Guard recruiting office: Recruiting, Retention and Attrition Management • Staff resourcing for two Army battalions covering 13 cities • Supervising and mentoring up to 10 recruiting and retention non-commissioned officers.

Costas was a champion in mission accomplishment with the highest integrity and ethics. His walls are filled awards and photos with the Guard’s top-ranking officers, including General Clyde A. Vaughn, who personally commended Costas for his service and integrity. Costas retired in 2014 after Honorably serving our Nation for over 26 years.

The biggest mistake Costas made in his career was simply being on duty during the Guard Recruiting Assistance Program also known as G-RAP, a cash incentive opportunity for civilian soldiers to bring in new recruits. With no direction from Washington D.C.’s Strength Maintenance Division, General Vaughn’s recruiters were supposed to intuit the 60 changes in the G-RAP rules over a seven-year period, while also working to fill the dwindling ranks of Guard troops.

Just before dawn, on an early October morning in 2015, Costas’s home was stormed by six Federal agents and two State police officers, in full tactical gear. Costas thought his family was under attack, and it was – by the Government he had served. Costas was arrested and taken to a Federal Courthouse where he was charged with “crimes” dating back almost ten years, during the days of G-RAP.

Costas is one of hundreds of General Vaughn’s recruiters who have been held responsible for not knowing the G-RAP rules that were never sent to them. And not just held responsible — charged with criminal intent to commit fraud against the Government. General Vaughn, who created and administered G-RAP, and who was administratively sanctioned for poor management, is enjoying full retirement in Virginia and Arizona.

Costas is going to prison.

The government’s “evidence” against Costas and other recruiters does not even meet the standard of circumstantial. In his case, the government admitted during trial to having no actual evidence, but only a “reasonable inference” that a crime could have been committed.

As a recruiter, Costas could not and did not participate in G-RAP. There were no Army regulations that governed G-RAP because the program was run by a private Alabama-based contractor called Docupak. Docupak was essentially incentivized to run a sloppy program, earning a 17% markup on every new enlistment, on top of their contract fees and administrative expenses. This lack of training stands in sharp contrast to how the Army usually operates, with manuals and rules on almost every action and procedure.

The one rule that the prosecution seized on to brand soldiers and veterans as felons regarded the relationship between the Recruiting Officer and the Docupak civilian contractors known as Recruiting Assistants (RAs). When G-RAP began, those contractors were regarded as assistants to the Recruiting Officers. The Recruiting Officers might use the RAs to give that extra push to a potential applicant considering enlisting. The Recruiting Officers were encouraged to ask the RAs to attend recruiting events and help with the finding of potential candidates. The original program outline stated that the Recruiting Officer would provide specifics for each possible enlistment to the RA, including legal name, birth date and social security number. That information was used by Docupak to verify enlistments and process payments to their RA contractors. In later descriptions of G-RAP, the social security number would go from the new recruit to the RA contractor, bypassing the Recruiting Officer, which not a single RA contractor reports ever seeing or any evidence has ever been produced by Docupak that verifies it.

This procedural change has resulted in hundred of indictments and scores of convictions for identity theft and wire fraud. Soldiers and veterans are in prison. Costas, sadly, is on his way.

After the government filed more than 50 felonies against Costas, his defense team could not overcome the wrath of the United States and he was convicted by a jury who felt that with so many felonies filed, Costas certainly had to have done something wrong.

He did not. G-RAP was a tangle of mismanagement; the soldiers who were on duty during its tenure are paying the price of administrative failures by their command. In an internal investigation done by the Puerto Rico National Guard pertaining to G-RAP in 2012, the Investigating Officer admitted that “Recruiters had no formal training on how G-RAP operated.”

Costas and his family had their hearts broken when the prosecution opened with statements calling him a “cheater, stealer and a liar.” He said these words, “pierced the core of his soul.”

Presumption of Innocence or even the “benefit of the doubt” was never given. In the end the Government spent an estimated $100,000 prosecuting Costas and the jury found Costas guilty on three charges amounting to $3,000. Although never having a criminal record and an impeccable military career, the judge sentenced Costas to prison. In the end “reasonable inference” and circumstantial evidence weighed more than 26 years of honorable service willing to sacrifice life and limb.

Recently the United States Court of Appeals for the 6th District reversed and vacated a conviction of an accused soldier involving G-RAP and determined, that the “Government did not retain a revisionary interest in the funds and that it did not exercise supervision or control over the funds”. This decision cannot be applied to Costas unless the United States Court of Appeals for the 1st District, the Supreme Court, or Congress rules on it.

“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”
― Carl Sagan

The claims were extraordinary. The evidence was missing. And yet, a United States military hero and veteran has been sacrificed.

We respectfully request that Congress or the White House appoint a commission to review the G-RAP investigation, to identify Soldiers that have been unjustly stigmatized by it, and to recommend suitable cases for clemency and pardon.

Related Links:
Stop G-RAP Injustice | Facebook
The Conspiracy Behind the G-RAP War on American Soldiers (March 30, 2016)
If You Look at the Dollars, Guard Recruiting Assistance Program Investigations Make No Sense (July 12, 2016)
Top Ten Problems with the National Guard Recruiting Assistance Program (G-RAP) Investigations (December 15, 2016)
An Open Letter to Congress Regarding the Investigations of the National Guard Recruiting Assistance Program (June 5, 2017)

Murder Comes to Town Premiered ‘Hellfire in the Hollow’ on Investigation Discovery: Military Spouse Rose Goggins Murdered by In-Laws Sylvia & Steven Beersdorf Sr. (June 19, 2018)

When a 21-year-old mother doesn’t return from night classes and her car is found burned, investigators immediately suspect foul play. However no one is prepare for the web of lies that ultimately unfold due to her disappearance. -Murder Comes to Town, Investigation Discovery

Victim:
Rose Mary Marie Goggins, 21, was killed by her future in-laws on January 14, 2010 in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. Steven and Sylvia Beersdorf Sr. pleaded guilty to homicide, disposing of her body, and setting her car on fire. Rose’s fiancé, Steven Beersdorf Jr., was at Camp Shelby in Mississippi with the Tennessee Army National Guard preparing to ship off to Iraq. Authorities stated that although Beersdorf’s parents were guilty, Goggins’ fiance was not involved in her murder.

Defendants:
Sylvia Beersdorf, 43 – pleaded guilty to criminal conspiracy to commit first-degree murder; sentenced to 15 years in prison
Steven Beersdorf Sr., 46 – pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder charges; sentenced to life in prison

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch all of the Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. Download the ID Go app and binge away. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $2.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict.

Related Links:
From Missing Person to Murder Victim
Rose Goggins murder case: Remains found at future in-laws house are of female; DNA testing under way
More details released in killing of young Tennessee mom; 2 charged
Tennessee: Couple charged in death of son’s girlfriend
Tennessee couple plead not guilty to murder of son’s fiance
Couple Pleads Not Guilty In Woman’s Death
Couple plead not guilty to murder of son’s fiance
Couple plead not guilty to murder of son’s fiance
Couple plead not guilty to murder of son’s fiance
Couple Waives Rights To Preliminary Hearing
Rose Goggins murder: Grandparent suspects waive preliminary hearings
Couple face trial in slaying of daughter-in-law
Plea Deals Accepted In Future Relative’s Death
Couple plead guilty in death
Wayne Couple Pleads Guilty To Killing Grandson’s Mom
Rose Goggins Murder To Be Re-Lived When “True Crime” Pgrm. Airs In Fall
Homicide in the Heartland | True Crime with Aphrodite Jones | ID (YouTube)
A Rose Amongst Thorns | Wicked Attraction | Investigation Discovery (website)
A Rose Amongst Thorns | Wicked Attraction | Investigation Discovery (Dailymotion)
Hellfire in the Hollow | Murder Comes to Town | Investigation Discovery (website)
Hellfire in the Hollow | Murder Comes to Town | Investigation Discovery (YouTube)
In Loving Memory of Rose Mary Marie Goggins (Facebook)

Scene of the Crime w/ Tony Harris Premiered ‘Down by the River’ on ID: Retired Army Pilot Robert Lee Yates is the Monster in Spokane (June 3, 2018)

Tony Harris pieces together the 1990 case of three prostitutes killed in Spokane, Washington, and discovers a pattern of murders connected by twenty-two caliber bullets, a killing spree that shocked a city and a suspect with a stunning new identity. -Down by the River, Scene of the Crime with Tony Harris (S2,E1)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $3.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict. Download the ID Go app or purchase ID True Crime Files & binge away.

Related Links:
The Spokane Murders | TIME
Death Sentence Upheld for Spokane Serial Killer
Social worker who served Yates’ victims supports end of death penalty
Robert Lee Yates | Murderpedia, the encyclopedia of murderers
Retired Army National Guard Pilot & Serial Killer Robert Lee Yates, Jr. Convicted of 2 More Murders of Women in Washington (September 19, 2002)
Unusual Suspects Premiered ‘Monster in Spokane’ on ID: Serial Killer in Washington is Retired National Guard Pilot Robert Lee Yates, Jr. (July 19, 2010)
American Monster Premiered ‘Family Snapshot’ on ID: Bob Yates’ Family Shocked Military Hero Father & Spouse is a Serial Killer (July 16, 2017)
Washington State Supreme Court Outlawed Death Penalty; Serial Killer Robert Yates’ Death Sentence Converted To Life in Prison (October 11, 2018)
Down by the River | Scene of the Crime w/ Tony Harris | Investigation Discovery (S2,E1)
Down by the River | Scene of the Crime w/ Tony Harris | Investigation Discovery (website)
Down by the River | Scene of the Crime w/ Tony Harris | Investigation Discovery (Prime Video)
Spokane serial killer Robert Lee Yates murdered at least 13 people – Tony Harris recounts the investigation

A Month in Review: In the News on Military Justice for All (May 2018)

May 2018

Missing:
Family pleads for missing soldier battling PTSD to come home
Vets group calls for ‘CAMO Alert’
What really happened to Middlebrook’s Sgt. Gene Shultz?
Missing: Michael VanZandt (Hermosa Beach Police Department – 310-318-0308)
Missing in Hermosa Beach: What happened to Mike VanZandt?
He Left to Go to the Bathroom and Never Came Back: Where is Michael Vanzandt?
Missing: Trevor Nichols (US Army), New York
Soldier receives orders to Fort Riley, goes AWOL
Disappeared: Air Force Veteran Michael Vanzandt Vanishes During a Night Out with Friends in Hermosa Beach, California (March 5, 2016)
Jean-Marc Faubert has been missing since the early morning of Friday, May 25th

Cold Cases:
Georgia Marine’s murder in Belize remains unsolved one year later
No arrests made 3 years after soldier’s murder
New Hampshire unsolved case file: David and Deborah Carreau
Warwick murder case still unsolved, reward offered 5 years later
Cold Case: Army Spc. Darlene Krashoc Sexually Assaulted, Murdered, and Dumped in Parking Lot in Colorado Springs; CID Offers $10,000 Reward (1987)

Fugitives:
Reward Offered for Armed & Dangerous Fugitive: Army Recruiter John Blauvelt Wanted for Allegedly Murdering Estranged Wife in South Carolina (2017)

Petitions:
Presidential Pardon Petition | Free Lt. Clint Lorance
Fire Iron River, Michigan City Manager David Thayer For Firing Police Chief Laura Frizzo!

Continue reading

A Month in Review: In the News on Military Justice for All (April 2018)

April 2018

Missing:
Patrick F. Carnes, Nevada (2011) | Missing Veterans
Mother Joins Search for Navy Officer Son Who Vanished on Way to Submarine Based in Connecticut
Federal agencies get involved with search for missing Martinsville man

Cold Cases:
Air Force Col. Philip Shue Died in an Apparent Car Accident, But Autopsy Revealed Much More; Texas Judge Ruled Cause of Death as Homicide (April 16, 2003)
Unsolved Homicide: Fort Hood Army Pvt. Justin Lewis Shot & Killed Near Vacant Lot in Neighborhood in Killeen, Texas (April 17, 2017)

Reward Offered:
$11K offered in hunt for Marine accused of killing detective’s daughter
Former Marine wanted for murder believed to be in Mexico, manhunt underway
Authorities ask for public’s help in locating ex-Marine fugitive

Petitions:
Advocate for review and reform of injustice in the Military

Announcements:
Veterans legal clinic scheduled in Killeen
Save Our Heroes Sends Letter of Concern to Joint Regional Correctional Facility Leavenworth, Re Violation of the United Nations Human Rights Commission

Legislation:
This Gunnery Sergeant’s job destroyed his body to the point of retirement
Diagnosed With Leukemia, This Officer Was One Year From Retirement

Continue reading

A Month in Review: In the News on Military Justice for All (January 2018)

January 2018

Missing:
Authorities seek information in Marine recruit’s disappearance
Investigators scour woods in case of missing Marine recruit
Aunt of Missing Marine Recruit Makes Emotional Plea for Nephew’s Safe Return
Family: It’s out of character for missing national guardsman to disappear
Help find service dog stolen from KY veteran
Theodore Jost Missing Veteran
Clarence Moore Missing Active Duty Military
Special agent’s disappearance doesn’t make sense
Where are “The Springfield Three”? Women Disappeared Without a Trace in 1992
Disappeared: Stacy McCall, Suzie Streeter, and Sherrill Levitt are ‘The Springfield Three’ who Vanished from Levitt’s Missouri Home on June 7, 1992
Lackland Air Force Base Nurse Nonnie Dotson Mysteriously Disappeared, Last Seen November 19th, 2006 in Littleton, Colorado While on Leave

Cold Cases:
10 Unsolved Military Cases | Military Justice for All
Army National Guard Capt. Gordon Hess Found Stabbed to Death at Fort Knox, CID Ruled Suicide Despite 26 Stab Wounds to Neck & Chest Area (1998)
Air Force Col. Philip Shue Died in an Apparent Car Accident, But Autopsy Revealed Much More; Texas Judge Ruled Cause of Death as Homicide (2003)
Cold Case: Army Veteran Kanika Powell Shot Several Times at Doorway of Maryland Home, No Known Suspects At This Time (2008)
Unsolved Homicide: Fort Hood Army Pvt. Justin Lewis Shot & Killed Near Vacant Lot in Neighborhood in Killeen, Texas (2017)
Family of Man Murdered in LR New Year’s Day 2016 Seeking Public’s Help in Finding His Killer

Fugitive on the Run:
New Security Footage in Search For ‘Armed and Dangerous’ Fugitive Army Recruiter
Reward Offered for Armed and Dangerous Fugitive: Army Recruiter John Blauvelt Wanted for Allegedly Murdering Estranged Wife in South Carolina (2016)
US Marshals release new images of man wanted for 2017 double murder

*************************************************

ACTIVE DUTY

Overseas Deaths:
US Army soldier dies at base in Kosovo
Islamic State group offshoot claims attack on US soldiers in Niger
SPC Zachary C. Moore Memorial
DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Javion Sullivan, 24, Ft. Hood
DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Mihail Golin, 34, Ft. Lee
Family: Soldier with ties to Simpsonville killed in Iraq
Fort Hood soldier who died in Iraq remembered by family
US servicemember killed in fighting in eastern Afghanistan
DoD identifies Green Beret killed in New Year’s Day attack in Afghanistan
First Navy Jack flies at Pearl Harbor to honor sailors killed in collisions
Body of Turlock soldier who died in Iraq returns home

Stateside Deaths:
Three young men killed after late-night crash in St. Lucie remembered by family, neighbors
Cause of Death Determined in Lakeside Car Fire
Marine Dies in Parachute Accident in Arizona
Fort Hood identifies soldier found unresponsive at off-post residence
Soldier killed, 5 injured when military vehicles crash
2016 Hornet Crash Involved Commander of Top Gun, Investigation Shows
Two soldiers killed in Apache crash at Fort Irwin
In Memory Of U.S. Army SSG Anthony Ray Lovell | Freedom Isn’t Free
Airman assigned to Shaw AFB found dead at off-base home
Fort Riley soldier found dead off post
Shaw AFB airman who was found deceased identified as crew chief
Mosque vandal commits suicide a day after sentencing
Two teens, both Army Reservists, killed while pushing stalled vehicle off Jefferson County road
Camp Pendleton Marine killed in San Diego had plans to join law enforcement
Dakota Lee Stump (EP 104) | The Vanished Podcast
Honor sought for US soldier who died in Bronx fire rescue
2 killed in Bellevue when tow truck crashes into stopped cars, police say
Ohio to require overpass fencing after sandbag causes deadly crash
19-year-old airman, Papillion man killed in 3-vehicle crash

Homicide Cases:
Court denies appeal in airman stabbing murder conviction
Body of Calif. woman identified two decades later
DNA hit solves 1992 murder-mystery
18-year-old Marine who was fatally stabbed at Camp Pendleton buried Monday, as investigation continues
Judge rules on bail conditions for triple homicide suspect
Family of murdered Army sergeant make an appeal to you
Funeral Monday for Janesville Marine murdered at Camp Pendleton
Ex-Marine Found Guilty of Killing Two UCSD Medical Students In Drunk Driving Crash
Procession held for Camp Pendleton Marine stabbed to death on base
“We do this to honor him:” Body of murdered Rock County Marine returns to Wisconsin
How homicide charges for two skippers will shake up the entire Navy
Michelle Paet sentenced to life without parole for conspiring to kill her husband
2nd man charged in slaying of Army sergeant is ordered held on no bail
Family mourns Marine stabbed to death at Camp Pendleton
2nd man charged with Omaha slaying of visiting soldier
More Murder-Suicide Details Disclosed
McKernan could serve 3 1/2 years under plea deal
American sailor freed from Belgian custody as Pentagon takes over homicide probe
Navy filing homicide charges against 2 ship commanders
Navy filing homicide charges against officers in ship collisions that killed 17
Funeral held for murdered Army Staff Sergeant Kyle LeFlore
Man accused of shooting Army sergeant admitted to the crime, prosecutor says
Police: Witness to murder-suicide involving Navy officer struck gunman with SUV
Pregnant woman killed by stray bullet identified as Air Force wife
Soldier Found Guilty, Sentenced in Murder of Good Samaritan Marine
US Marine killed in stabbing at Camp Pendleton’s School of Infantry
Suspects wanted in Texas couple’s ambush, murder during home robbery
Man convicted in fatal shooting of Good Samaritan at Arlington Walgreens in 2016
3 Men Accused of Brutally Slaying Texas Couple Execution-Style Held Without Bond
Raised by a Serial Killer: Edward Edwards’ Daughter Shares Guilt and Shame After Turning Him In
Fate of Marine charged with murder for fatal crash in hands of jury
‘With Excrutiating Sadness’ Father Confirms Marine Son Killed in Camp Pendleton Stabbing
2nd man charged in slaying of Army sergeant is ordered held on no bail
Fort Eustis soldier, mistress plead guilty to wife’s 2013 murder
Fort Bragg investigates dead body found on post
Document: Ft. Bliss soldier accused of killing man claims he has PTSD
Court documents detail moments leading up to death of man near Hueco Tanks
Fort Bliss soldier accused of killing man in front of shocked witnesses
Navy servicewoman allegedly killed by ex-boyfriend in Lake Forest had made video about domestic violence
Staff sergeant shot, killed while visiting family in Nebraska
Arrests Made in Fatal Stabbing of Camp Pendleton Marine
Suspects in Gaslamp Quarter Stabbing of US Marine Have History of Predatory Attacks: Prosecutor
Claire Vanlandingham & Ryan Zike: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
Omaha gunfire claims the life of a soldier on a visit home
Men who stabbed Marine to death targeted him because he appeared to be easy target
Green Beret indicted for murder (1994)

Sex Crimes Cases:
Coast Guard rape conviction overturned after court’s scathing attack on women-packed jury
Man sentenced to 20 years for child molestation
Air Force Academy cadet accused of sexual assault found not guilty
Navy recruiter suspected of using position to lure sex-abuse victims
Ex-Air Force policeman who raped four women at gun point sentenced to prison
Airman sentenced for sexually abusing young pregnant teen runaway on base
Academy Scandal Exposes Air Force’s Continuing Struggle With Sexual Assault
Former death row inmate, Army Sergeant accused of sex trafficking
Man previously on Delaware’s death row indicted in Hawaii

Other Crime Cases:
Airman, son of Army 1SG charged with injuring 5-year-old during a hit and run
Man pleads guilty in border smuggling case involving former Fort Hood soldiers
Army hospital employees under investigation for misconduct
Marine charged in ‘military training’ child abuse
Military romance scammers steal U.S. soldiers’ photos — and money — from lonely people
Soldier who was hunting charged after N.C. woman was struck by a bullet while in truck with baby
Clarksville Mongols gang members no strangers to police
First military trial in Navy’s ‘Fat Leonard’ scandal results in guilty plea in Norfolk
Motorcyclists held at gun point after trying to sneak in USAF base for second time
Security Forces airman arrested for kidnapping, spotted at squadron holiday party

Absent Without Leave (AWOL) Cases:
Military Desertion is Issue in Border Agent’s Murder Case
Asking for help to find double homicide suspect
Soldier who found fame executing Nazis died his own mysterious death

Military Explosives:
Anti-personnel mine found near Fountain Creek was real
Police: Hand grenade disarmed after being found in trash
$10,000 reward offered for info about military explosives discovered in Pine

Wrongful Conviction Cases:
Bill would give Norfolk Four $3.5M for wrongful rape, murder convictions
Former Marine Sniper Punished in Scandal Wins Again in Court
Dennis Maher: How DNA Freed a Wrongfully Convicted Army Sergeant After 19 Years

*************************************************

NATIONAL GUARD

Stateside Deaths:
Florida National Guard identifies soldier killed in military vehicle crash
2 soldiers die after SUV stalls on Missouri roadway
Indiana National Guard soldier dies at Fort Hood
Army releasing few details on National Guard soldier who died at Fort Hood
Second Republican Lawmaker Commits Suicide Following Sexual Abuse Allegations In Less than a Month

Felony Crime:
Couple was paid for recruiting soldiers, but they committed fraud, jury finds
Fairbanks man gets 20 years for 2016 rape

Administrative:
Former official claims sex discrimination, lies, obstruction at Oregon military agency in $4 million suit
Shutdown cancels North Carolina National Guard training
Eric Greitens Should Have Known Better
Allegations against Missouri governor raise legal risks
Sheena Chestnut, Eric Greitens’ Wife: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

*************************************************

VETERANS

Deaths:
Cause of fatal SW Wichita fire determined
Man who died in Lansing house fire was U.S. Air Force veteran
Gun used in Yakima veteran’s suicide among those confiscated, sold
This Marine Veteran Just Died of Cancer at 36. Here’s Why He Fought Assisted Suicide.
Military Suicide Awareness | SGT Jordan Roberts, 27, USMC, November 14, 2017
A Tacoma veteran died waiting for heart surgery from the VA. His family has sued

Homicide Cases:
3 sentenced to prison for their part in killing of Army veteran
Former Marine accused of murder-for-hire plot released on bail
Ex-soldier sentenced to life in prison for murder of Denver transit guard
Murder suspect held on $5 million bond, victim’s family seeks answers in Delaware shooting
Ex-soldier gets life in prison without parole for slaying Denver transit guard
Funeral services held for paramedic, Army veteran, killed by husband
Victims in Bella Vista suspected murder-suicide identified
Family says murder victim was killed for defending his daughter
Attorney seeks to bar border agent’s military records from trial in teen’s shooting
Crime History: Versace-Killer Andrew Cunanan’s 1997 Murder Spree
Deputy US marshal, an Army veteran, killed while serving Pennsylvania warrant
Man convicted in Kane County murder 20 years ago now on trial for armed robbery
Deputies Down-Colorado story
Officials: SCI-Somerset inmate killed his cellmate
Colorado Gunman Live-Streamed Shooting of Sheriff Deputies
Suspect charged with murder in San Bernardino deputy’s death ‘needs to spend the rest of his life in prison,’ DA says
Police: Former School Principal and Her Mom Died of Gunshot Wounds
Alonzo Leron Smith, Who Fatally Punched California Police Officer, Charged With Murder
Suspect identified in fatal shooting of deputy

Other Crime Cases:
Army Vet Shot by Police at VA Clinic Faces Charges
Dear thieves, give back the Silver Star you stole from a dying Kansas veteran
Former Pilot Sentenced to Life in Prison for Traveling to Philippines to Buy, Rape Young Girls
See the First Image of Sarah Palin’s Battered Husband Todd After Son Track’s Alleged Attack

Wrongful Conviction Cases:
Blackwater: Black-listed and betrayed
Man wrongfully convicted of Simi double-murder plans to work with veterans

Veterans Affairs Issues:
DoD and VA Partner with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to Focus on Reducing Suicide
VA criticized over eye care for vets in rural areas
Fired combat veteran sues McDonald, alleging discrimination
DoD and VA Release Online Tool to Assist Veterans with Discharge Upgrade Process
Police: Oregon man shot by VA officer had come to clinic for appointment
What You Think About Veterans Is Likely Wrong
Man Shot at Oregon Veterans Clinic During Altercation
Inmates, dogs help veterans reintegrate into civilian life
The Obstacles Facing VA In Its Fight To End Veteran Homelessness
Army veteran found dead in freezing cold parking lot after release from VA hospital
Army vet with scalpel left in body after surgery sues VA
New England vet claims surgeon left scalpel inside his body for 4 years
VA secretary apologizes for surgery that left scalpel in Army veteran for years
VA Facilities Now Offer Same-day Care for Urgent Primary and Mental Health-care Needs
New Hampshire House Approved Marijuana Legalization Bill
New Trump order focused on preventing suicide among new vets
New Trump Executive Order Takes Aim At America’s Veteran Suicide Crisis
Reality Check: Veterans Have Lost Faith in A Failing VA System
Unarmed Kansas Man killed by SWAT Team After Getting ‘Swatted’ By Call of Duty Player
If You’re A Vet In California, Here’s How The New Marijuana Laws May Affect You
Explainer: What is “Swatting?” Prank Calls to SWAT Teams are on the Rise
VA Caught Denying Care To Sicker Vets To Get Better Performance Ratings
Attorney General Sessions ends federal policy that let legal pot flourish
VA says Justice Department crackdown on marijuana won’t hit veterans
VA firings spiked after Trump signed the new accountability law last year

*************************************************

Mental Health:
Show Your Mind Who’s Boss
“You have value. It’s there.” | Korey Shaffer
Seeking Justice or Enhancing a Victimized Identity?
5 Things Not to Say to Someone Who’s Suicidal — and What to Say Instead
A Letter to Parents Surviving a Child’s Suicide
Is Mental Illness Physical or Mental?
Honoring Our Fallen Police, Firefighters, Military
11 Signs of a Sneaky Sociopath
The Catch-22 of Dealing With a Narcissist
How To Spot Sociopath Women
3 Surprising Ways Heartbreak Impacts Your Brain

*************************************************

MILITARY JUSTICE REFORM

Felony Crime:
Freed Felon Chelsea Manning to Run For Senate
Military Sexual Trauma Survivors Speak Out At Pentagon
Pentagon officials endorse demonstration against military sexual assault
Veterans Who Have Faced Sexual Assault Ask: Where Is Our #MeToo Moment?
“Where’s Our Reckonin?” | Military Women Gather Outside Pentagon in #MeToo Protest

International Incidents:
Pentagon investigating video that appears to show a service member opening fire on a civilian

Accountability:
Military Morale Sacrificed as Pawn in Shutdown Political Game
Surface Fleet Commander to Resign After Reported Firing Recommendation
Army general now ‘special assistant’ after ‘sweetheart’ comment to female staffer
So the military is doing its job, but not getting paid. And Congress is not doing its job, but getting paid? #SchumerShutdown via Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children

Other Injustices:
Pico Rivera Student Who Recorded Teacher’s Anti-Military Rant Hopes to Serve in Marine
Secrecy and uncertainty surrounds Navy discipline for fatal ship collisions
This viral video caught a California high school teacher’s ugly rant about military recruiters
CA Teacher Caught on Tape: US Military Members ‘The Lowest of the Low’
Air Force supplying drinking water after water well contamination detected near former Texas base
Sgt. Joshua Berry, 2009 Terrorist Attack, Fort Hood | Judicial Watch
Report: Navy sailor found hiding on ship had financial problems
Missing sailor who hid on USS Shiloh was found filthy, carrying Peeps candy, report says
Navy Missed Signs Of ‘Clear Instability’ In Days Before Shiloh Sailor Went MIA

Military Policy:
John Kelly says California teacher caught on video bashing troops ‘ought to go to hell’
Social media becoming powerful tool for Fayetteville police
Marine Col. drugged, robbed in Colombia; now being forced to retire
Air Force technical sergeant removed for racially charged video rant
The Conversation #MeToo Needs to Have
USAF TSgt removed from charge after online rant, base under investigation
Second Lady Karen Pence Advocates for Art Therapy to Help Fort Hood Soldiers
Geraldine Lovely: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
The Innocence Deniers
USAF NCO under investigation for saying only her black subordinates are disrespectful
Why Revoking Obama’s Sex Assault Letter Won’t End Campus Witch Hunts
US soldiers are revealing sensitive and dangerous information by jogging
Army pays $4 million to families for murders committed by WA soldier
New PTSD study shows recovery for Fort Hood soldiers in just two weeks
Navy tells families when they can identify a sailor who has died on social media in latest handbook
AFRICOM investigates images depicting Niger ambush that killed four US soldiers
#MeToo Excesses | Opinion | The Harvard Crimson
Why Does Our Justice System Fight So Hard to Keep Innocent People Behind Bars?
Injured Heroes, Broken Promises: Army Launches Investigation Inside Fort Hood’s Warrior Transition Unit
This Is How Mass Incarceration Happens
Nonprofit steps in to aid military death benefits during shutdown
How To Avoid Getting Duped By A Stripper
Troops Just Want Congress to Stop Political Budget Games: Dunford
Feds say slaying by outlaw biker gang happened at Bumpus Mills cemetery
6 signs she is more in love with your contract than you
#MeToo and the Military
Why don’t more people serve? The US is launching a commission to find out
Reporting abuse was risking my life – US veteran & rape victim
S.2870 – Military Retaliation Prevention Act (2015-2016)
McKernan jurors: What if Colleen and Rob’s roles were reversed?
‘Til Death Do Them Part: A Husband Pushed Off a Cliff, a Wife Drowns and Other Newlywed Homicides
Condoleezza Rice on #MeToo: ‘Let’s not turn women into snowflakes’
Rape Victims’ Reactions Misunderstood by Law Enforcement
DOJ to help police dive deep into numbers
This young man is transgender, and ready to enlist Jan. 1
Rape Kits in America: Battling the Backlog-on-Backlog in SAKI
Dakota’s Law by Warriors Aftermath & Recovery (Dakota Stump)
Publicly, We Say #MeToo. Privately, We Have Misgivings.
‘Believe the Victim’ Investigations Reveal a Callous Disregard for the Truth
Proposal Would Create Alerts for ‘Critically Missing’ Adults

*************************************************

MILITARY JUSTICE FOR ALL

Publications:
Honoring the Victims of Serial Killer Andrew Urdiales, US Marine Corps, in California and Illinois (1986-1996)
Top 10 Posts on Military Justice for All in 2017
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside
74 Fort Hood Soldiers Died Since January 2016: 4 Insider Attacks & 2 Suicides Overseas; 67 Stateside Deaths Including 34 Alleged Suicides & 1 Unsolved Homicide
Army Major Chester Barrett Murdered By Estranged Wife Lisbeth & Step-Son for Military Survivor Benefits; Both Sentenced to Prison 35+ Years Later (1977)
Navy Spouse Susan Russo Hired Drug Addicted Hitmen for $100 to Murder Husband David for the Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance (July 14, 1994)
AWOL Army Pvt. Dannie Boy Edwards’ Bones Found Near Ohio Cemetery on April 13, 1997; Ed Edwards Guilty of Murder for SGLI; Sentenced to Death (April 13, 1996)
Army Soldier Gary Prokop Murdered by Wife Tyshee Manik & Childhood Friends for the Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance (June 25, 1998)
Fort Bragg Army SSG John Diamond Convicted of Murder of Air Force Capt. Marty Theer; Military Court Sentenced to Life in Prison, No Parole (2001)
Army Pfc LaVena Johnson Died of Non Combat Related Injuries in Iraq, Death Ruled Suicide But Independent Autopsy Revealed Rape & Murder (2005)
Army Soldier Marc O’Leary Raped an 18 Year Old Woman in Washington; Three Years Later Arrested in Colorado for Rape & Sentenced to 300 Plus Years (2008)
Pregnant Samira Watkins Found Dead in Bayou Grande in Florida; Navy Sailor Zachary Littleton Convicted of 1st Degree Murder, Sentenced to Life (2009)
Evidence Reveals U.S. Army Reserve Recruiter Adam Arndt Murdered High School Student & Recruit Michelle Miller, Then Killed Self; Army Investigators Claim ‘Double Suicide’ (2013)
Army Spouse Dana Mackay Found Murdered in Virginia Home; SSG John Mackay, Nicole Houchin, Nace Houchin, & Greg Crawford Confessed to Crime (2013)
Air Force Veteran Colleen McKernan Shot Husband Robert 10 Times; Plead Guilty to Manslaughter to Avoid 3rd Trial, Sentenced to 7 Years in Prison (2014)
Fort Hood Army Pvt. Dakota Stump Found Dead on Post Three Weeks After Vehicle Accident; Family Wants Missing ‘Warrior Alert’ Law (2016)
Pvt. Wanya Bruns Died by Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound Nine Months After Joining Army; One of Many in 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas (2016)
The Silent Truth: The Rape, Murder & Military Cover-Up of Army Pfc LaVena Johnson in Iraq
Killeen PD: Army SSG Anthony Lovell Died of Injuries Sustained in Apparent Motorcycle Accident Along Nolan Creek in Killeen, Texas (2017)
Fort Hood Army Spc. Zachary Moore Found Unresponsive in Barracks on Deployment to Camp Hovey, South Korea; CID Ruled Suicide (2017)
30 Domestic Abuse Cases in the Military That Ended in the Murder of Female Partners (2017)
Washington DC Veteran’s Presentation on the Current Status of the Armed Forces at Fort Hood in Texas (2017)
30 Domestic Abuse Cases in the Military That Ended in the Murder of Female Partners (2017)
A Month in Review: In the News on Military Justice for All (November 2017)
A Month in Review: In the News on Military Justice for All (December 2017)
Sophie and Co | RT: Reporting abuse was risking my life – US veteran & rape victim (2018)

On This Day:
100 Years After The Porvenir Massacre, Most Texans Still Haven’t Heard The Story
Today in History for Jan. 15
Johnson says U.S. should stay in Vietnam | History.com (January 12, 1966)
Andrew Muns Disappeared from USS Cacapon, Listed AWOL; 30 Plus Years Later, NCIS Cold Case Squad Solved Murder; Michael LeBrun Plead Guilty (January 17, 1968)
Explosion rocks USS Enterprise (January 14, 1969)
Cease-fire goes into effect (January 28, 1973) | History
President Carter pardons draft dodgers | History (1977)
Army Brigadier General Bobby Robinson Found Dead by Gunshot Wounds at Washington DC Home, Death Believed to be Suicide (January 14, 1985)
Saddleback College Student Robbin Brandley was Stabbed to Death by Camp Pendleton Marine Andrew Urdiales in California (January 18, 1986)
Civilian Kimberly Ruggles Raped & Murdered by Fort Bragg Soldier; Ronald Gray Sentenced to Death by Military Courts for Two Murders & One Attempted Murder (January 6, 1987)
The Persian Gulf War begins (January 16, 1991)
Army OTS Candidate Lisa Gaudenzi Disappeared from Virginia Home; 15 Years Later, Spouse Lawrence Pleaded Guilty to Murder, Sentenced to 25 Years (January 26, 1995)
Navy Petty Officer James Kuenn Convicted of the Cold Case Murder of Carol Hutto in Florida; Sentenced to Life, Possibility of Parole After 25 Years (February 9, 2000)
The US Air Force Academy Sexual Assault Scandal, Colorado (2003)
Army Sgt. Keicia Hines Struck by a Vehicle on Mosul Airfield in Iraq; No Updates on Outcome of DoD Investigation (January 14, 2004)
Air Force SSgt Michael Severance Drugged by Wife; Wendi Davidson Plead ‘No Contest’ to 1st Degree Murder, Sentenced to 25 Years (January 15, 2005)
Army Pfc. Suzanne Swift Went AWOL from Fort Lewis; She Refused to Deploy for Third Time with Superiors She Accused of Sexual Harassment (January 15, 2006)
Army Soldier Katherine ‘Kat’ Singleton Died in Iraq; Department of Defense Did Not Publish Press Release Notifying Public of Death (January 18, 2006)
MA1 Jennifer Valdivia, US Navy, Died in a Non Combat Related Incident in Bahrain, NCIS Ruled Death Suicide by Carbon Monoxide Poisoning (January 16, 2007)
Marine Veteran Joseph Kerekes & Navy Veteran Harlow Cuadra Murdered Bryan Kocis in Pennsylvania Home; Sentenced to Life in Prison (January 24, 2007)
College Student Brianna Denison Kidnapped, Raped and Strangled by a Former Marine in Reno, Nevada; James Biela Sentenced to Death (January 20, 2008)
Sgt Tracy Birkman, US Army, Died of Non Combat Related Injuries in Owesat, Iraq (January 25, 2008)
Iraq War Army Veteran Benjamin Barnes Found Dead in Mount Rainier National Park; Suspect in Death of Park Ranger Margaret Anderson (January 2, 2012)
Army Soldier Sgt. Brandy Fonteneaux Found Murdered in Fort Carson Barracks; Sgt. Vincinte Jackson Sentenced to Life, No Parole (January 9, 2012)
Fort Bragg Army Soldier Joshua Eisenhauer Shot at Police & Firefighters During 4-Hour Standoff at Fayetteville Home (January 13, 2012)
Shannon O’Roark Murdered Estranged Husband’s Mistress Veterans Affairs Psychiatrist Dr. Irina Puscariu; Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison (January 13, 2012)
Iraq War Army Veteran Steven Russell Jr. Convicted of the Capital Murder of Girlfriend Joy Owen; Sentenced to Life in Prison, No Parole (January 27, 2012)
US Air Force TSgt. Jennifer Norris Testified Before the House Armed Services Committee in Washington DC (January 23, 2013)
Air Force Defends Handling of Sex Scandal (January 24, 2013)
JBLM Army Soldier Shawn Woods Died Saving a Woman Stabbed in Back by Boyfriend; Chase Devyver Sentenced to 31 Years in Prison (January 19, 2014)
Army SSG Devin Schuette Found Dead in Vehicle at Recreation Area Near Fort Hood; CID Ruled Suicide, Spouse Requests Independent Investigation (January 3, 2016)
Iraq Army Veteran Jonathan ‘Mike’ Gilotti Gunned Down in Front of Home in Alabama; 4 Individuals Charged with Murder, 1 Found Not Guilty (January 5, 2016)
Air Force Major John Gerrie Died from Non-Combat Related Incident at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar (January 16, 2016)
Fort Hood Army Major Troy Wayman Found Dead at Residence in Nolanville, Texas; Death Ruled Suicide by Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound (January 16, 2016)
Air Force TSgt Zechariah Casagranda Stabbed to Death in Parking Lot in Louisiana; Benjamin Shaw Found Not Guilty of Second Degree Murder (January 24, 2016)
Vanity Fair Confidential on Investigation Discovery Features ‘Code of Dishonor’ (January 25, 2016)
Army Sgt. Joseph Stifter Died of Wounds Suffered When Armored HMMWV was Involved in Roll-over Accident in Iraq (January 28, 2016)
Army Pfc. Shadow McClaine Reported Missing at Fort Campbell on 9/2; Spc. Charles Robinson Pleaded Guilty to Murder, Sgt. Jamal Williams-McCray Awaiting Trial (January 23, 2017)
Fort Hood Army Pfc. Kai Yancey, Died After Complications From a Short Illness on New Year’s Day at Scott & White Hospital in Temple, Texas (January 1, 2017)
Fort Hood Army Pfc. Randal Anderson Died from Gunshot Wound in Killeen; No Updates on Outcome of Investigation & Cause of Death Ruling (January 2, 2017)
Florida airport shooting suspect Esteban Santiago formally charged with murder (January 6, 2017)
Army Spc. Barron Von Reichelt Died From Injuries Suffered in an Automobile Accident on South Range Road at Fort Hood (January 7, 2017)
Army Sgt. Alex Taylor Found Unresponsive in Place of Duty at Fort Hood; No Updates on Outcome of Investigation & Cause of Death Ruling (January 11, 2017)
Army Spc. Zackary Partin Found Dead in Barracks at Fort Hood in Texas; Had Plans to Discharge in a Few Months & Become Full-Time Firefighter (January 12, 2017)
Army Pfc. Shadow McClaine Reported Missing at Fort Campbell on 9/2; Spc. Charles Robinson Pleaded Guilty to Murder, Sgt. Jamal Williams-McCray Awaiting Trial (January 23, 2017)
Shaw AFB SSgt. Zachary Townsend Found Deceased at Off-base Residence Near Columbia, South Carolina; No Foul Play Suspected (January 15, 2018)

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Featured in Television Episode, Movie, Documentary, Theatre:
No Means Yes | Deadly Women Quick Hits
“48 Hours: NCIS” | Body of Evidence
Tyshee Prokop Documentary | Female Killers
‘The 15:17 Train to Paris’ Cast on Who They Would’ve Chosen to Play Themselves
Megan Leavey Movie Trailer
Cold Case Files: Carols Diary (With Bill Kurtis)
Realistic Patriotism Makes ‘12 Strong’ A War Movie Worth Watching
Watch Our Interview With the Real Heroes of ‘The 15:17 to Paris’
BSF Exclusive Sneak Peek: National Geographic’s Chain of Command
The Ultimate Pledge | Bride Killa | Investigation Discovery
‘The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story’: Who is Andrew Cunanan?
My Father, The Serial Killer | People Magazine Investigates (ID Web)
Afghan War Documentary ‘Trauma’ Does Justice To The Difficult Job Of Combat Medic
‘12 Strong’ Isn’t The Afghan War Movie We Deserve, But It’s The One We Want
The Perfect Suspect (Investigation Discovery): Lisa Gaudenzi, US Army
Forbidden: Dying for Love (Investigation Discovery): Adam Arndt & Michelle Miller
‘A Few Good Men’ Comes to Cotuit Center for the Arts
Evil Lives Here (Investigation Discovery): Bobby Joe Long, Army Veteran

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MISCELLANEOUS
Army announces deployments for about 10,000 soldiers
Elevator maintenance worker found dead at William Beaumont’s 9th floor
US: American soldier wounded in Afghan attack
Top 10: Mariah Woods disappears
Married to a Monster: Ex-wife discusses serial killer who raped, killed 10 women
After 15 years, father finds peace in knowing truth about his murdered daughter
Oprah as commander in chief? Here’s what she had to say about the Iraq War
Okinawa-Based Marine Honored for Heroism after Harrowing Water Rescue
Gen. Mark Welsh sounds alarm on undermanned Air Force (2015)
Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
Martin Luther King Day | Military Justice for All
Chelsea Manning files to run for US Senate in Maryland
Ex-wife says lawmaker who killed himself molested 2 girls, including relative
Dog Found Tied To Tree With Note Has Been Adopted By Army Specialist
Surprise for an Army Veteran | Purple Heart Homes
Thank you for your service to all generations of veterans
NFL rejects Super Bowl ad from veterans group that asks players to stand during anthem
California Names Mountain after Marine Who Died in Combat
Preston Sharp: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Related Links:
A Month in Review: In the News on Military Justice for All (November 2017)
A Month in Review: In the News on Military Justice for All (December 2017)
A Month in Review: In the News on Military Justice for All (January 2018)
A Month in Review: In the News on Military Justice for All (February 2018)
A Month in Review: In the News on Military Justice for All (March 2018)