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Navy Man Charged in Sailor’s Death

October 7, 2002

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NEW YORK (AP) _ A Navy petty officer was charged with manslaughter Sunday after he admitted shoving a fellow sailor who fell to her death from a sixth-floor window of a Times Square hotel, prosecutors said.

Brian Cooley, 29, was charged after telling prosecutors he did not try to stop the sailor’s fall, said Barbara Thompson, a spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney.

Cooley, Lisa Tedstone and a sailor whose name was not released had checked into the Milford Plaza hotel early Saturday after a night on the town, authorities said. A passer-by found Tedstone’s body on the ground outside the hotel about 3:40 that morning.

Court papers say Cooley, 29, admitted getting into a heated argument with Tedstone in which he punched and shoved her, and made no effort to stop her fall. The third sailor may have been asleep at the time, police said.

Cooley, of La Porte, Ind., was awaiting arraignment on the manslaughter charge, which carries a prison term of up to 15 years. He had been arrested on a murder count, but prosecutors downgraded the charge Sunday.

Cooley and Tedstone, 30, a seaman E-3 from Simpsonville, S.C., had been part of the crew of the U.S.S. Wasp, a military ship that returned last month from deployment in the action in Afghanistan and has been docked in New Jersey.

Cmdr. Terry Sutherland, a spokesman for the Naval Surface Force, Atlantic Fleet, said the Naval Criminal Investigative Service was assisting New York police in the investigation.

Sutherland said the third sailor was questioned and released.

A message left with Cooley’s family in La Porte was not immediately returned.