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Another Marine in Custody Over Parachutes

July 11, 2003

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (AP) _ Another Marine has been taken into custody, but not charged, in connection with an ongoing investigation into the sabotage of parachutes that injured three Marines last year, officials said Friday.

Cpl. Clayton A. Chaffin, 28, an air delivery specialist from Franklin, Ohio, was being held in pre-trial confinement at the base brig, said 2nd Lt. Kate VandenBossche.

Chaffin also was being held in connection with a narcotics investigation, Camp Lejeune officials said in a news release. He was scheduled to appear at an initial hearing Friday afternoon. An officer will determine then whether to continue his pretrial confinement.

Officials did not say what role they believe Chaffin may have played in the parachute sabotage.

Another Marine, accused of tampering with the parachutes, is scheduled to go to court-martial July 29. Lance Cpl. Antoine D. Boykins, 21, of Baltimore, is charged with 13 counts of attempted premeditated murder; 13 counts of reckless endangerment; and one count of conspiracy to commit premeditated murder.

Charges were dismissed against a third Marine, Lance Cpl. Julian C. Ramirez, 25, of Los Angeles, but he could be charged again should new evidence arise.

Three Marines were injured Sept. 21, 2002, when their parachutes failed to open when they jumped from about 1,250 feet; their reserve chutes deployed safely. Other jumps for that day’s exercise were canceled, and investigators later found that 13 of the 22 parachutes had been tampered with.

At a hearing in March, a military prosecutor said Boykins and Ramirez cut parachute suspension lines because they had been disciplined and were angry with their platoon commander. The charges against Ramirez were dismissed after his attorneys argued that no forensic evidence had been presented to tie his client to the crime.

All three Marines are members of the 2nd Transportation Support Battalion, 2nd Force Service Support Group, said Lejeune spokesman Staff Sgt. James Connolly.

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