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Mother Fights for Convicted Soldier’s Life

December 25, 1986

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) _ After two years, Carolyn Dock is still fighting against her soldier son’s death sentence, but she says she has learned to make time for other things in her life.

Her son, Todd Dock, was an Army private stationed in West Germany in June 1984 when he was charged with killing a taxi driver.

Four months later, Dock, now 22, was convicted of murder in a court-martial and sentenced to death.

He is being held at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. His case can be appealed through the military system, and ultimately could go to the U.S. Supreme Court, but Mrs. Dock is concentrating on winning a new trial for her son.

Since the death sentence was imposed, Mrs. Dock has spent an estimated $99,000, hiring civilian lawyers and making two trips to Germany in search of evidence that might help her son’s case.

″At the beginning, it (fight) truly was all consuming,″ said Mrs. Dock, 51. ″Then I realized I had to keep up with my business and some kind of social life ... in order to keep some perspective on it.

″I don’t want it to be the only point in my life, because you lose your objectivity.″

A widow with six children, including Todd, Mrs. Dock is involved in two antiques businesses. To help meet expenses, she said, she sold her house for the equity and replaced it with a townhouse. She also has held three yard sales, which combined raised more than $6,000 for the Todd Dock Defense Fund.

Mrs. Dock said she has recently retained a new attorney, and plans to file a petition for a new trial for her son before a February deadline.

Meanwhile, she is awaiting action on an appeal filed in May with the Army Court of Military Review. The appeal alleges that Dock was without an attorney for 37 hours after his arrest.

The Court of Military Review could dismiss or reduce the sentence, or send it on to the Court of Military Appeals. From there the case could go the the Supreme Court.

In February, 1985, Maj. Gen. Richard G. Graves, commander of the 3rd Armored Division to which Dock was attached, upheld the court-martial process that resulted in the imposition of the death sentence.

Mrs. Dock said she is not convinced Todd committed the crime, but said if he did, she believes it was not a premeditated act but the result of an alcohol problem.

Dock signed a confession to the crime, but Mrs. Dock said she believes her son was intoxicated at the time.

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