Court-Martial Focuses On Intent For Soldier Accused Of Murder

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How does intent effect a court martial relating to homicide?

A court-martial began last week to determine if Spc. Jeffrey Page formed the intent to kill his comrade Spc. Adrian Perkins.  The two men were stationed at an American missile site in Jordan last year.  During a lunch break, Spc. Perkins was fatally shot while carrying lunch to Spc. Page and another unnamed guard at their guard post.  An autopsy performed on Spc. Perkins showed that he died from a single gunshot wound to the head fired from an M-4 Rifle.  

The defense attorney for Spc. Page argues that the case is involuntary manslaughter and that the fatal shot was accidental, not deliberate or out of hatred.  The defense attorney commented that the guard shifts at these posts lasted twelve hours and when Spc. Page was bored he would aim his unloaded weapon and “dry-fire” at targets.  Spc. Perkins thought his weapon was unloaded and was pulling the trigger out of boredom when he fired the shot that killed Spc. Perkins.  Spc. Page waived his right to a jury trial and offered to plead guilty to a charge of involuntary manslaughter claiming the shooting was an accident.  

The prosecution argues that the shot was deliberate and will present evidence to show that Spc. Page had motive to kill Spc. Perkins because the two men had a bad relationship.  The prosecutor will present evidence that Spc. Page was angry with Spc. Perkins’ messy appearance, poor military skills and substandard military demeanor.  The prosecution also claims that Spc. Perkins’ peers generally looked down upon him because of those aspects.   

Because Spc. Page waived his right to a jury, Col. Douglas Watkins will determine if the Spc. Page is convicted of involuntary manslaughter or murder. Even if Col. Watkins determines that the shooting was an accident, Spc. Page could still face up to 10 years in prison.  If Spc. Page is convicted of murder he faces life in prison without possibility of parole.  The trial is expected to take approximately one week.   

If not handled properly, military criminal charges, especially murder, can have serious consequences.  If you are a military member and have been accused of criminal charges you will need an experienced court martial defense attorney.  Aviso Law LLC has a special division to assist military members with court martial defense and appeals.  Contact us today at (719)247-3111 for a consultation. 

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