What happens when a member of the armed forces commits a crime off the military base?
A 26-year-old Navy Sailor who works for the Joint Task Force as an Intelligence Specialist, has been charged with second degree murder, and use of a firearm during commission of a felony, for allegedly killing his wife, Kathleen Freel, 27. The crime took place in the couple’s Williamsburg, Virginia home at 12:45 a.m. on September 7, 2015 while their two children, ages 4 years and 5 months, respectively, were in the house. The children have now been placed in the care of their maternal grandparents.
The alleged shooter, Petty Officer 1st Class, Mark Freel Jr., appears to have killed his wife, then called the police, waited for them to arrive, and confessed to the crime. His explanation of the motive that lead to his violent act was that his wife “belittled” him when they returned from a neighbor’s home. Arrested without incident, Freel was taken to Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail, where he is presently being held without bail.
The couple had only lived in the neighborhood for about 3 months and had been socializing with neighbors during the afternoon before the incident. While some neighbors were surprised by the shooting, one neighbor, Darlene DeCosta, had experienced several uncomfortable confrontations with Freel.During one of these confrontations, Ms. DeCosta reports that Freel “got in [her] face, saying ‘Hit me. Hit me. Hit me.'” One of these arguments between the neighbors, involving a dispute over property lines between their houses, precipitated a call by Mark Freel to police.
There is some history of domestic violence. Just over a year before these recent charges, Mark Freel was arrested in Virginia Beach for assaulting his wife, allegedly grabbing her by the throat and holding her down on the couch until interrupted by a knock on the door. After that incident, Katherine Freel took out an emergency order of protection against him, but it expired after 3 days.
Although there is overwhelming evidence that Mark Freel, Jr. committed this crime, he is, like all of us, entitled to the best defense possible. If you, or someone you care about, is a member of the armed forces who has been charged with a crime, please get in touch with one of our skilled attorneys at Court Martial Law. All of lawyers are experienced in military administrative actions and court martial defense. Located in Denver, Colorado, we service military clients all over the world and can be reached at 719.247.3111.