Top 10 Posts on Military Justice for All in 2017

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  1. Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside
  2. Navy Veteran Richard Uffelman & Two Children Opened Fire and Killed Neighbors Michael and Florence Phillips in Maine, Richard Sentenced to Life in Prison (1989)
  3. Navy Spouse Susan Russo Hired Drug Addicted Hitmen for $100 to Murder Husband David for the Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance (1994)
  4. Navy Wife Dina Kichler Raped & Murdered in Mayport, Florida by John Brewer Shortly After her Husband Deployed for Six Months on USS Forestall (1990)
  5. Joseph Snodgrass, US Air Force, Hired Hitmen to Murder Wife Julie at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines for the $400,000 Life Insurance Payout (1991)
  6. Fort Bliss Army Commander Captain Lynn Reister Murdered by Enlisted Husband Roger and His Brother Rodney for the Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance (2001)
  7. A Complete List of the 35 Basic Military Training Instructors Court Martialed in the Lackland Air Force Base Sex Scandal
  8. Air Force Retiree Philip Inhofer Murdered by Nevada Escort for Money and 1975 Mercedes Convertible; Michelle Cummiskey Sentenced to 25 Years to Life (1991)
  9. Navy Petty Officer Elise Makdessi Double Crossed & Murdered by Husband Eddie who Came Up with a Better Plan Yielding him $700,000 in Life Insurance (1996)
  10. Air Force SSgt Michael Severance Poisoned with Animal Medications by Veterinarian Wife, Wendi Davidson Plead ‘No Contest’ to First Degree Murder, Sentenced to 25 Years (2005)

Marine Joseph Pemberton Found Guilty by Philippines Court for Murder of Filipina Sex Worker Jennifer Laude; Sentenced to 6-12 Years (2014)

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Lance Corporel Joseph Pemberton, USMC

Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton, US Marine Corps, sentenced to 6-12 years in a Philippine prison for killing Jennifer Laude, a trans Filipina sex worker, in October 2014.

“His sentence was downgraded from the usual 20 to 40 years for homicide under Philippine law, in part because Laude failed to disclose to Pemberton that she was trans.” -Buzz Feed

Jennifer Laude Allegedly Murdered by Marine: Reports Suggest Suspect May Have Had Sex with Victim Before Her Death
Arrest warrant out for US Marine in Laude murder case
Lisa Pemberton US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton’s Mother
Witness Says Suspect U.S. Marine Didn’t Know Murdered Filipina Was Transgender
Friend: Never saw signs of violence by Joseph Pemberton; calls New Bedford Marine on trial in Philippines ‘peaceful individual’
Marine accused of killing transgender Filipino woman tests American ties with Philippines
Philippine prosecutors charge US Marine with murder in brutal slaying of trans woman
Philippines police file charges against U.S. Marine in murder case
Philippine Government Charges US Marine With Murder Of Transgender Woman
Philippine court to give verdict in Marine’s murder case
Philippine court to rule if U.S. Marine guilty of murder
Philippines Rejects US Marine’s Appeal to Drop Murder Case
Lejeune Marine refuses to enter plea in killing of Filipino transgender
New Bedford Marine’s murder trial resumes in Philippines
Philippine protests likely after verdict in Marine trial
Philippines to deport US Marine facing murder trial after sentence
U.S. Marine Convicted Of Killing A Trans Woman In The Philippines
U.S. Marine Guilty in Killing of Transgender Woman in Philippines
Marine Found Guilty of Strangling Transgender Filipino to Death
New Bedford native convicted of killing Filipino transgender woman
U.S. Marine who choked Filipino woman and held her head in the toilet after discovering she was transgender found guilty of homicide
U.S. Marine jailed in Philippines for killing transgender woman
Marine Found Guilty, Will Head To Jail For Strangling Transsexual
Why this man pleaded innocent after killing a transgender woman is frustrating.
U.S. Marine’s sentence reduced in trans murder
US Marine Appeals Murder Conviction in Death of Transgender Filipino
The Aftermath Of A U.S. Marine’s Conviction In The Death Of A Philippine Trans Woman
Marine PFC Joseph Scott Pemberton (Military Corruption)
Justice for PFC Joseph Scott Pemberton – NOT Guilty

Navy Master Chief John Bench Murdered Son & Attempted to Murder Wife & Daughter in Japan, Then Killed Self in Motorcycle Crash (2009)

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Master Chief Petty Officer John Bench, US Navy

Investigation Discovery’s show Forbidden: Dying for Love aired an episode titled ‘An Officer, Not a Gentleman’ which featured the story of Navy Master Chief Petty Officer John Bench. Bench first killed his son and then attempted to kill his wife Agnus and their daughter on August 30, 2009 at Sasebo Naval Base in Japan. After the attacks, he then made a run for it and left the base traveling on his motorcycle. On that ride, John Bench slammed directly into the path of an oncoming truck and was killed instantly. NCIS was assigned to the case and discovered the crime scene. As a result they were able to get care for John’s wife and daughter who survived the brutal attack. Once Travis Tritten of Stars and Stripes discovered John Bench was involved in a homicide investigation in the Philippines, he did some digging because he knew this was no coincidence. The story he uncovers leads the Philippines police to another killer.

The Philippines is a key site for military and home to about 12 million citizens. Lilibeth Eniceo, 29, lived in the Philippines with her parents where she shared a room with her five children. Every day was a struggle for survival. A series of men let Lilibeth down but she continued to have hopes for a relationship. Ultimately, she was looking for love and stability for her family. Then one day in January 2007, she got a friend request from a Navy man named John Bench. He was a completely different kind of man than most. And he was the highest enlisted rank one could be in the Navy, therefore highly successful. But John was stationed thousands of miles away in Japan. Regardless, John continued to woo her and they stayed in constant contact; an internet romance grew very quickly.

Months later, John told Lilibeth his ship was traveling to the Philippines and he wanted to meet her in person. So Lilibeth traveled 100 miles to Subic Bay to meet John where his ship was at port. She was so excited to be meeting her prince charming for the first time. Lilibeth was upfront about her children from the beginning so John knew what he was getting into. John had no problems with her family and let her know he was committed to all of them. During the visit, John told Lilibeth he was divorced with two kids and free to pursue a relationship. John purposefully made her think that they had a future together. Lilibeth was happy and overwhelmed that she found a man like John Bench. It felt like they knew each other for years. Before John went back to Japan, he assured Lilibeth he would send money to support her and her family.

After years of despair and heart break, John Bench gained Lilibeth’s trust but he was keeping a secret too. John was still married with two children and they all lived on Sasebo Naval Base in Japan. John was married to Agnus, also a native of the Philippines, and they had two children: Anthony, 10, and Angelica, 15. But John was deeply unhappy in his marriage. And the success he worked so hard for would be destroyed in a divorce. John didn’t want to lose half of his military pension. Although, John was obviously not thinking clearly when he decided to have an affair because adultery is a crime in the military. John took a big risk when he started sending money to Lilibeth regularly. John felt trapped in a life he didn’t like and wanted to be free of it. He took a big gamble with his career because if caught he could lose everything. But no one could imagine the plot he was scheming.

Lilibeth and John had fallen madly in love but they had to keep it a secret. A year or so after they met, Lilibeth and John had another rendezvous but this time she introduced him to her children. John appeared to be the ideal family man because he was loving and very good with the children. They had a great visit. Right before he left, John informed Lilibeth he couldn’t give her anymore money because most of his money went towards alimony he was forced to pay after the divorce. John made it appear to Lilibeth that his ‘ex-wife’ was endangering their relationship and standing in the way of their future. He was point blank and didn’t mince words. He said he wanted to kill his wife. Because Lilibeth was blinded by her dreams of getting everything she ever wanted, she asked him what he wanted her to do. John asked her to find a hitman in the Philippines and then he returned to Japan.

Lilibeth was nervous and never thought she would be involved in an assassination plot. But she found someone to kill John’s wife. The hit would cost $1,250 with a downpayment of $700. John called Lilibeth to let her know when his wife was going to be in the Philippines visiting her family. This was the first opportunity they had to make their move. Lilibeth and the hitman lied in wait outside Agnus’ hotel and after she appeared, Lilibeth aborted the plan because her mother instincts kicked in. Agnus was exiting her hotel with her daughter. Lilibeth couldn’t imagine killing a mother in front of her daughter. Lilibeth told John she couldn’t do it and he was furious that his orders were not carried out. He eventually apologized for getting angry at her. The vulnerable Lilibeth forgave him and continued to remain under his spell.

In February 2009, John returned to the Philippines for another visit. Lilibeth still saw a relationship happening and the perfect life with John. She wanted security for her family so badly. On this visit, John asked Lilibeth to marry him and of course she said yes. She was so excited because this was a fairy tale turning into reality. But unfortunately this reality was built on lies. John was not divorced yet told Lilibeth that because he was paying alimony to his ‘ex-wife’, he would have to support two families and things would be tough. Lilibeth told him she didn’t care about the money as long as they were together and happy. But John continued to pressure her and this time he wanted her to find someone to kill his ‘ex-wife’ and the two children. Lilibeth wanted no part in this plan because to her it was unthinkable that someone would consider murdering their own children.

The cold hard truth is if John Bench was capable of committing these crimes, Lilibeth was one of his victims too. She desperately hoped John would abandon the evil plan. He told her his family didn’t care about him or love him. He made himself out to be the victim. She was torn because she would be letting go of a future with security if she said no, so she agreed to take part in the plot to kill his family. Lilibeth found another hitman and this time tried to limit her involvement by having John speak directly to him. John and Lilibeth met with the hitman and John told him how he wanted the plan to go down. He told the hitman he wanted him to carjack his family and then kill them. John assured Lilibeth afterwards they would finally be together.

The whole idea behind the plot was that this would be a failed robbery attempt and John would miraculously be the lone survivor. But again Lilibeth was having a hard time coping with the reality of the situation. She knew that a family was going to be murdered. The hitman waited at a pre-determined location and pulled the taxi over at gunpoint. He jumped in, demanded they drive to a remote location, and then told them all to get out of the car. He killed the taxi-cab driver first. Then he hesitated and called Lilibeth to tell her he was going to kill them. She told him she didn’t want to know anything. While the hitman was distracted, Agnus lunged at him and fought back in an attempt to get the gun. John hesitated to help her because he had been waiting so long for this plan to unfold so he could be free. John finally acted because otherwise he risked his wife finding out about his murderous plan.

The Bench family was taken to the local police department to give a statement. John Bench was quietly concerned about the hitman being on the run. He knew if he was caught and the plan was made public, it would ruin him. Ruby Ramores was also looking for answers as her brother was the taxi-cab driver who was murdered. She wanted justice for her brother; he was a father of three children and was just trying to make a living. John appeared to want to brush the whole incident under the rug. He denied hesitating to assist Agnus and boldly stated that he was simply waiting for the right opportunity. He then told the police he was tired and leaving so his family could go back to Japan. Ruby read the police reports and questioned why John was hesitant to help his family especially since he had the training to do so. Ruby wasn’t going to let this case go cold.

John kept a very low profile the weeks following the incident and stopped sending Lilibeth any money. Then after months of silence, John called Lilibeth out of the blue. He told her he missed her, wanted to be with her, and apologized for his actions. She eventually relented and forgave him. John told her they would be together soon. But once again, John was lying. After this call to Lilibeth, John unraveled and took matters into his own hands. First he savagely beat and murdered his son. Then he bludgened his wife and daughter with a baseball bat and left them for dead. Afterwards, he fled the scene on his motorcycle. Everything in John’s life was on the line and there was no coming back from this. So John gunned his engine and slammed directly into the path of an oncoming truck. He was killed instantly.

When Japanese authorities realized John was in the Navy, Naval Criminal Investigation Services (NCIS) took over. As a result, they went to John’s home and discovered the crime scene. They were able to save both Agnus and her daughter’s life. Once the news was reported, Travis Tritten of Stars and Stripes began looking into the case. He learned that John Bench was also involved in a homicide case in the Philippines. He suspected something wasn’t right and John’s involvement in the homicide in the Philippines was not coincidental. Travis found out that John Bench was having an affair so he contacted Lilibeth. She opened up to him about the details of the relationship and the various plots to kill John’s family. Lilibeth also gave him the name of the hitman who killed Ruby’s brother. The hitman was charged and imprisoned for the homicide. Ruby opted not to press charges against Lilibeth because she empathized with her and her children. Everyone involved was a victim of John Bench. He used a victimhood narrative to justify his evil intentions and manipulated others to do his dirty work for him. He is the definition of a sneaky sociopath.

I made a mistake. If I have to pay for it, I will pay for it…I was in love with a monster. -Lilibeth Eniceo

Related Links:
Sailor dies in crash after alleged assault leaves 12-year-old son dead
Probe centers on Task Force’s top enlisted
Mistress reveals plots that led to a senior enlisted sailor’s brutal attacks
NCIS investigates Filipino cabbie slaying
Navy officer’s mistress questioned in Philippines murder case
Man accused of plotting murder with U.S. sailor arrested in Philippines
Victim’s sister, sailor’s mistress form unlikely partnership
Hit man in Bench murder plot pleads guilty in Philippines
‘Forbidden: Dying for Love’ Eyes Story of USS Denver, Navy Officer Who Wanted Family Dead
Forbidden: Dying for Love “An Officer, Not a Gentleman” (Investigation Discovery)


A Filipino woman falls for a married US Navy Officer who will do anything to keep his mistress and his money. -Discovery ID

Air Force Sgt. Joseph Snodgrass Hired Hitmen to Kill Wife at Clark AFB in Philippines for $400,000 Life Insurance Payout; Sentenced to Life in Prison (1991)

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Sgt. Joseph Snodgrass, US Air Force

Air Force spouse Julie Snodgrass was found stabbed to death outside Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines on February 26, 1991. Julie was discovered in the cab of her pickup truck on an isolated road off base and an autopsy revealed that she was stabbed more than 42 times. The Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) had jurisdiction of the case and upon investigation found evidence on Sgt. Joseph Snodgrass’ work computer that linked him to the crime. AFOSI found a letter to his mistress asking for help with the murder of his wife and a current life insurance policy on his wife. The letter disclosed that Snodgrass elicited the help of his housekeeper (and lover), a Philippine native, to hire three hitmen to carry out the crime so they could be together and live off the $400,000 life insurance pay out. In the course of an interview with AFOSI, Snodgrass grabbed the floppy disks with the evidence against him and cut them to pieces with some shears. But luckily computer forensic scientists were able to find a way to put the disks back together so the data was readable again. This was the evidence the Air Force needed to make their murder-for-hire case. In the meantime in June 1991, Mount Pinatubo erupted resulting in layers of volcanic ash on Clark AFB and Naval Base Subic Bay. Amidst the chaos, Snodgrass attempted a jail break in August 1991 while awaiting trial but lost his bearings in the ashy mess and eventually surrendered. The eruption’s aftermath triggered the decision to withdraw all American forces from the Philippines. The last troops and ship pulled out of the naval base more than 25 years ago. Joseph Snodgrass was eventually convicted of first degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison. As a result of the forensic history made by piecing the floppy disk back together making it usable again, the military changed the policies pertaining to the destruction of classified data on floppy disks.

Related Links:
American woman found dead in Philippines
The Cataclysmic 1991 Eruption of Mount Pinatubo, Philippines
In the Matter of the Guardianship of Jaime Mary-Jean Snodgrass, a Minor (1997)
AF Computer Forensics Lab nabs criminals, byte by byte
Computer Forensics Investigations: Body of Evidence
Recounting US military’s last days in the Philippines
Information Risk & Security: Preventing & Investigating Workplace Computer Crime
Forensic Files: Shear Luck (YouTube)


When the wife of a serviceman was brutally murdered in the Philippines, the Air Force Office of Special Investigators swung into action. Clues led to the victim’s husband, but he insisted he was innocent. Investigators would have to do something unprecedented: Reassemble a 5 1/4 inch computer disk which had been cut to pieces with pinking shears. -Forensic Files

Fort Carson Army Soldier Nolly Depadua Killed Air Force Spouse Lourdes Riddle to Silence Sextortion Threats; Sentenced to 14 Years in Prison, Out in 7 (March 26, 1985)

ID Go: After Lourdes Riddle in found strangled to death in the trunk of her car, homicide detective Joe Kenda follows the trail through a twisting maze of military and cultural secrets. Just what was Lourdes doing behind her husband’s back? -Secret Life, Homicide Hunter (S1, E5)

Investigation Discovery featured back to back episodes of Homicide Hunter with Lt. Joe Kenda. Kenda is a retired detective from the Colorado Springs Police Department. Colorado Springs is also the home of US Army base Fort Carson and Peterson Air Force Base. As a result, Lt. Kenda worked closely with investigating authorities at both bases throughout the years when one of his murder cases involved a member of the military or their dependents. If a crime against a military member or their dependents occurred off-base within the jurisdiction of Colorado Springs, Lt. Joe Kenda had the legal authority to investigate the strangling death of an Air Force wife found in the jurisdiction of Colorado Springs.

Construction workers found an abandoned car that had been set on fire on their property on March 26, 1985. The scene looked suspicious so they contacted the police to investigate the situation. The police found Air Force spouse Lourdes Riddle strangled to death in the trunk of her own car. Lt. Joe Kenda was called to the scene to investigate the crime further and determined that whoever killed Lourdes also tried to cover up their crime. They found that an accelerant (gasoline) was used to burn the car and a brick was on the driver’s side floor of the car (as if it was used to hold down the gas pedal). As Kenda was processing the crime scene, two Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) personnel showed up and claimed they were taking charge of the investigation. They informed Kenda they had the husband, TSgt Mark Riddle, who worked at NORAD, Cheyenne Mountain, in custody on Peterson AFB.

Kenda’s response to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations personnel was priceless and proves that he truly is a fierce detective that all law enforcement should emulate. He was not intimidated by the feds in the least bit when the crime occurred in his jurisdiction. He shared that even it was their house, how dare they walk into his crime scene. Kenda was absolutely shocked when they shared they had enlisted soldier, Mark Riddle, in their office at Peterson AFB. Their attitude was that it was obvious who did it because in most cases it was the husband or boyfriend. When in fact, Kenda was disappointed that they may have tainted the case by initiating an ‘immediate arrest’. He was afraid that this outside agency, who had no jurisdiction, had advised Mark Riddle of his rights and he would want a lawyer now. His guilt was not obvious to Kenda who did not automatically assume that the husband committed the crime. He simply wanted to talk to him, not accuse him. Kenda felt that their actions may prevent him from doing an interview which could really damage the case. Kenda admitted to making mistakes in his lifetime but he also shared that he gets really upset when someone else makes them for him. If all investigators operated like Kenda and made assumptions based on fact finding, we could better protect the due process rights of individuals.

Kenda gains access to Mark Riddle and learns that Lourdes is a 31 year old from the Philliphines who has been married to him for nine years. There was in fact trouble in paradise and Mark admitted that his wife had been spending time with and maybe even sleeping with other men. They were not happily married. He claimed he was home the night of the murder and had no alibi. Mark asked for a polygraph test to prove his innocence and passed it, then let the investigators search his home. Although adultery is a motive for murder, Kenda determined that Mark Riddle was honest, credible, and was no longer considered a suspect. This case was not a sex crime but it was a personal and angry crime as evidenced by the ligature strangulation. Kenda felt that this person wanted to punish her and wanted to feel her die. This person was deemed the “Pantyhose Strangler” in the media. After talking to Lourdes family, Kenda learned that Lourdes was threatened by more then one person. Kenda wasn’t sure if she was a target because of Mark’s work at a secret military base or if it was because of her own secret life.

The Air Force couple lived on Peterson AFB. Kenda learned that Lourdes went to night clubs that soldiers frequented. She was into the nightlife, partying, and dancing. Her neighbors reported that she was in and out of the house all the time, usually dressed up with high heels, short skirts and make-up. During Kenda’s investigation into the circumstances of Lourdes secret life, rumors began to circulate at the enlisted men’s club on Fort Carson that she was extorting Army soldiers. In the meantime because of media coverage, an eye witness came forward with a description of a suspect that was found near the scene of the crime that night. He was a black male about 6’8. Kenda asked those who frequented the enlisted club on base if she was dating anyone matching the description. He learned that she only dated Phillipino men and wouldn’t give any other guy the time of day. The rumor was that she draws soldiers in like a Venis flytrap. She specifically sought out Phillipino soldiers. She would have a relationship with them, claim that she was pregnant, and threaten to go to their military Commander if they did not give her money for an abortion.

Lt. Kenda learned of blackmail accusations involving Nolly Depadua, a Phillipino soldier stationed at Fort Carson. Nolly had a friend named Brian Hawkins, also a Fort Carson soldier, who matched the description of the suspect described near the scene of the crime the night Lourdes was murdered. Kenda spoke to Brian with the approach that the facts would give him a theory. Initially Hawkins denied any involvement but Kenda believed that he was lying based on his body language during the interview. He requested he undergo a polygraph test and Hawkins failed miserably. When confronted with the results, Hawkins begins to cry. Hawkins told Kenda that Lourdes wanted money from Nolly Depadua. She claimed she was pregnant and was going to contact the Commander if he didn’t give her money. Nolly was concerned that his family would be ashamed of him if he got kicked out of the military. Nolly strangled Lourdes with the pantyhose.

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Nolly Depadua, U.S. Army

Kenda arrested Nolly and learned from him that they had sex, and she wanted $1000 for an abortion. According to Nolly, Lourdes took his Army dress uniform, used it as ransom, and threatened to burn it if he didn’t give her the money. His career and that uniform meant everything to him. The night of the murder, Nolly asked Lourdes to meet him and give him back his uniform. Lourdes showed up without the uniform. He snapped and strangled her to death in an effort to solve his extortion problems and save his career. Nolly elicits the help of Brian to help him get rid of the body. Unlike in the movies, the car did not explode in a ball of flames like the pair was expecting. The evidence at the scene of the crime was mostly unharmed. According to Kenda, both of the soldiers appeared to show remorse for the crime. Although Lourdes Riddle was a participant in her own death and her behavior caused this reaction, she did not deserve to die. Nolly Depadua made a decision to take a life and you can’t do that. Due to the circumstances surrounding the homicide, he was found guilty of second degree murder and sentenced to fourteen years in prison. He was released after seven. Lt. Kenda ended the show with: “saying she got what she deserved is not fair.”

A couple issues come to mind when it comes to the way the military handles investigations of felony crimes. Why did the Air Force Office of Special Investigations want to take jurisdiction of this case? Why did they do an ‘immediate arrest’ instead of investigating the circumstances and basing their decisions on fact finding? Why don’t they realize that their actions actually hinder the thorough investigations of cases. Research does in fact support that most spouses are murdered by their significant others but we have this thing called due process in the civilian world. The way Kenda felt about OSI interfering and possibly damaging the case was legitimate. And Kenda approached the investigation of the case in the way that detectives should move forward. He simply wanted to talk to the spouse, not accuse of him of the crime. So far there was no evidence to prove that Mark Lourdes had committed the crime. The way the Air Force OSI handled this case is part of the reason that the military justice system is under fire. They have been accused of overreach to include not affording due process rights to both victims of crime and those accused of a crime. They have been accused of railroading military members with an iron fist and as Joe Kenda would say ‘draconian and ruthless’ tactics. They have been accused of making a victim fearful of coming forward if they were involved in a military crime, like adultery or drinking underage. Nolly Depadua is yet another example of a crime involving the motive of fear when someone threatens to go to a military commander.

This is the heart of the military justice system debate. A commander hears each person’s story and determines who is guilty and who is not guilty based on that evidence alone usually. Commanders make the decision whether to prosecute someone in the military. If felony cases were handled by prosecutors who understood the modus operandi of sociopaths, psychopaths, and predators, would our soldiers feel more comfortable reporting a crime without the fear of damaging or losing their own career. It’s a theme that comes up over and over in military cases and needs to be examined. Are soldiers hesitant to report crimes perpetrated against them to their Commander if they have engaged in illegal behavior of any kind to include drinking under age and adultery? If this is the case, we must remove this barrier so that our soldiers feel safe to report felony crimes perpetrated against them without fear of losing their careers because they committed a misdemeanor.

If Nolly had a safe place to report that Lourdes was extorting him despite the adultery issue, could we have prevented this murder? We don’t want our soldiers to feel like they have nowhere to turn if they are targeted by those who know how to manipulate unsuspecting Commanders. It’s important to recognize that both male and female soldiers can be targeted by male or female sociopaths and predators. Reporting crimes to your commander is currently a battle of whose story is more believable and what they feel or don’t feel like dealing with. Commanders hold the key to moving forward with a case or not in our current military justice system. Do they have the skills necessary to investigate and determine who should be prosecuted for crimes? Commanders may not realize that they could tip people off who need to be questioned simply by prematurely inquiring into something which creates an opportunity for collusion.

In the civilian world, you most likely will not lose your career for adultery. Yet in the military, adultery is treated like any other crime in the courts martial process and soldiers can and do lose their careers. It’s not worth a life when people feel that they have to take matters into their own hands to protect what should never been taken from them to begin with. This is why the reporting of felony crimes needs to be moved away from the Commander and to a trained investigator who can help the prosecution determine whether a crime has been committed or not. Prosecutors cannot win cases if the defendants are not afforded due process rights. And this is what gives civilian law enforcement the advantage because they are forced to work within a justice system that protects the constitutional rights of the accused. We want to respect those rights in our pursuit of justice because that is how we will get justice. We should ensure our soldiers that if a felony offense is committed against them that they can safely report the crime without the fear of losing their career.

Source: ‘Secret Life’ Homicide Hunter

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:
Secret Life | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (S1, E5)
Violent Crime, Suicide & Non Combat Death at Fort Carson, Colorado
Nowhere to Turn: Soldier Extorted by a Military Wife Ends in Murder
Army CID warns Soldiers to beware of ‘sextortion’ scams

Andrew Muns Disappeared from USS Cacapon, Listed AWOL; 30 Plus Years Later, NCIS Cold Case Squad Solved Murder; Michael LeBrun Plead Guilty (1968)

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Andrew Muns, US Navy

After U.S. Navy sailor disappears in 68, the Navy claims he went AWOL. But his sister works for over 30 years to prove that he was really killed. -Cold Case Files

The 1968 disappearance of Ensign Andrew Lee Muns, 24, US Navy, was long a mystery. But his family never gave up. As a result, the case was reopened by the Navy in 1998 at the urging of Muns’s sister, Mary Lou Taylor. Muns’s body was never found and the Navy listed him as a deserter after $8,600 was discovered missing from a ship safe. He was not eligible for burial at Arlington National Cemetery because he didn’t have an honorable discharge. His family wanted to set the record straight in an effort to honor his name. An NCIS Cold Case Squad investigation revealed that cashier and payroll clerk, Andrew Muns, caught Michael LeBrun stealing from the ship’s safe. Muns threatened to report him and LeBrun panicked. He punched him, Muns punched him back, they struggled, and LeBrun overpowered Muns and strangled him in an effort to silence him. Then he needed to get rid of the body. LeBrun wanted to throw him overboard but was afraid others would hear the splash and the body would float. He threw his body in a muck tank instead knowing it would not be inspected for a year and a half.  LeBrun eventually pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in September 2005 for killing Andrew Muns. He was sentenced to four years in prison. Andrew Muns was buried in Arlington National Cemetery with full honors and the flag was given to his family.

Related Links:
Andrew Lee Muns, Ensign, United States Navy
The Andrew Muns Story
The Charley Project: Andrew Lee Muns
Missouri man incriminated in 33-year-old murder case
Persistence leads to indictment for murder
Bringing Back Honor For Missing Sailor
Navy ensign, once thought to be a deserter, finally honored as hero
Federal Judge Recommends Confession Be Thrown Out
Federal judge recommends confession be thrown out
LeBrun v United States, Opposition (Department of Justice)
USA, Appellant, v. Michael Edward LeBRUN, Appellee (May 14, 2002)
USA, Appellant, v. Michael Edward LEBRUN, Appellee (April 9, 2004)
Case of the long-ago murder
Admissible Evidence
Man Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter in 1968 Killing
Ex-sailor pleads guilty in 1968 shipboard killing
Former seaman gets four years for killing Navy shipmate in 1968
Sailor sentenced for murder
Greenwood Man Sentenced in 1968 Murder
Cold Case Files: Exhuming the Truth
U.S. Navy Cold Case: A Sister’s Persistence Restores the Honor of Murdered Ensign Andrew Lee Muns