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Army To Review Units In Wake Of Racist Murders

Sun., Dec. 10, 1995

Army officials said Saturday they were examining whether there were any patterns of extremist activity at Fort Bragg.

On Friday three soldiers were charged in the killing of a black couple in Fayetteville, N.C. The accused harbored Nazi flags and white supremacist literature.,

Major Rivers Johnson, a spokesman for the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, said in a statement Friday that the shootings were an “isolated incident,” but he acknowledged that the Division was “reviewing the units” for any evidence of “patterns of activity that are incompatible with Army policy.”

The brutal and seemingly random shootings occurred early Thursday morning, and appeared to be racially motivated. Local police officials in Fayetteville said that the soldiers had been drinking and were apparently looking for blacks to harass.

The officials said the soldiers accosted Michael James and Jackie Burden as the couple was walking down a street. They got into an argument and one soldier shot both people in the head with a semiautomatic handgun, police officials said.

Two soldiers - Pfc. James Burmeister, 20, and Pfc. Malcolm Wright, 21 - were arrested in a trailer where police found a Nazi flag, literature praising Adolf Hitler and what police officers described as pamphlets from ultra-right-wing groups.

Both men were charged with first-degree murder in the killings of James and Burden, both of whom were Fayetteville residents. A third soldier, Spc. Randy Lee Meadows Jr., was arrested a short time later and charged with conspiracy to commit murder. Meadows is accused of driving a car carrying the other two.

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