June 12, 1996 in Nation/World

Paratrooper Guilty Of Attacking Own Unit Sergeant Claimed He Was The Victim Of Pranks, Name-Calling

Associated Press
 

An Army paratrooper who claimed his fellow soldiers called him crazy and pulled pranks on him was convicted of premeditated murder Tuesday for killing an officer in a sniper attack on his own unit during morning calisthenics.

The court-martial jury that convicted Sgt. William Kreutzer then began hearing evidence on whether to sentence him to death.

Also at the sentencing hearing, one of the 18 soldiers wounded in the attack Oct. 27 testified from a wheelchair because he was paralyzed from the waist down by a bullet fired by Kreutzer, 27, of Clinton, Md.

“There’s nothing that I can do on my own anymore,” said Chief Warrant Officer Abraham Castillo, a former helicopter pilot. “Somebody has to be with me at all times. … I can barely hold an eating utensil.”

The jury deliberated for slightly less than two hours before finding Kreutzer guilty of premeditated murder in the death of Maj. Stephen Badger. Kreutzer was also convicted on attempted murder charges for each of the 18 fellow members of the 82nd Airborne Division who were wounded as 1,300 members of the elite unit set out on a four-mile run.

Kreutzer’s lawyers contended he was under stress and suffering from a personality disorder.

Prosecutors argued that Kreutzer planned the attack because he was angry at members of his squad.

Kreutzer talked often about shooting people, said William Knight, a former sergeant who served with Kreutzer in the 82nd Airborne in the Sinai Peninsula in 1994 and at Fort Bragg until last year.

During the Sinai assignment, Kreutzer talked about wanting to kill members of his squad because they put sand in his boots, and rigged cords to trip him on his way to the latrine during the night, Knight said.

Kreutzer, who loved guns and had no social life, also was called names like “Crazy Kreutzer” and “Silence of the Lambs,” said defense attorney Capt. Stephen Stokes.

© Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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