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From the Ash Heap: Camp LeJeune

I came across these sketches I did back in 2005 at Camp LeJeune of an Article 32 hearing – the military equivalent of a preliminary hearing – for Second Lieutenant Ilario Pantano. Lt. Pantano was charged with the premeditated murder of two Iraqis.

When the World Trade Towers collapsed on 9/11 Pantano was living in New York, where he grew up, and had recently started his own business after a stint at Goldman Sachs. Shortly after the attacks he reenlisted in the Marines and was soon leading a platoon in the Sunni Triangle.

 

On April 15 , 2004 while investigating a report of insurgents at a compound Lt. Pantano stopped a car in which two Iraqis were attempting to leave. After knocking out the glass, flattening the tires and searching the vehicle Pantano released the Iraqis from their cuffs and ordered them to do an additional search of the vehicle. Sergeant Daniel Coburn and Corpsman George “Doc” Gobles were standing guard at either end, facing away from the vehicle, when they heard a short verbal exchange between the lieutenant and the Iraqis and then gunfire. Lt. Patanao emptied one M-16 magazine, then another, into the men. He then wrote on a piece of cardboard “NO BETTER FRIEND, NO WORST ENEMY” and placed it on the car where the bodies laid.

 

A couple months later Sergeant Coburn, who had recently been demoted by Lt. Pantano to radio operator, registered a complaint which led to the Lieutenant being charged with two counts of premeditated murder.

When Sgt. Coburn took the stand to testify it came out that he had spoken to the media in direct violation of orders not to do so. The hearing took a dramatic turn as Pantano’s lawyer confronted Coburn with his remarks that contradicted what he had told naval investigators. The hearing was stopped and the presiding officer, Lt. Col. Mark E. Winn, informed the sergeant of his Miranda rights. In his report Colonel Winn found “a great deal of discrepancies and conflicting testimony given by Sgt. Coburn”. The charges against Lt. Pantano were eventually dropped.

You can read more about Ilario Pantano in this New York Magazine article.

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French lab rules out date-rape drug

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Testifying over speaker phone at a hearing for Annapolis Midshipman Kenny Morrison who is accused of drugging and raping two women, also students at the Naval Academy, Pascal Kintz, director of the French laboratory ChemTox, said in a heavily accented voice, “we can say with huge accuracy that there was no exposure”.

Hair samples from the two victims were sent by the prosecution to the French laboratory for analysis after previous tests by a Texas lab were called into question at an earlier Article 32 hearing.

 

Posted in Military Tagged with: , ,

Another Naval Academy rape case

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In July Annapolis midshipman and star quarterback Lamar Owens was aquitted of rape charges by a court-martial.  Today another Naval Academy middie, and football team member, faced accusations by two women who testified at his Article 32 hearing.

Midshipman Kenny Ray Morrison, seated between his civilian and military lawyers on the right side of my sketch, listens as victim #1 is questioned by LCDR Colin Kisor, JAGC, USN.

 

 

Posted in Military Tagged with: , ,
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