Soldier Found Guilty of Murder
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (AP) _ An Army private was found guilty of premeditated murder Wednesday for bludgeoning to death a fellow soldier in a beating prosecutors said was motivated by his hatred of homosexuals.
Pvt. Calvin N. Glover, 18, was convicted of using a baseball bat to crush Pfc. Barry Winchell’s skull as he slept on a cot at their Fort Campbell barracks on July 5. The military jury deliberated for little more than an hour.
A sentencing hearing for Glover, who is from Sulphur, Okla., was set for Thursday. The conviction carries a mandatory penalty of life in prison, and jurors will decide whether he will ever be eligible for parole.
Glover showed no reaction as the verdict was read. His mother, Kathy Roundtree, started weeping moments later.
Defense attorneys argued that another soldier, Spec. Justin R. Fisher, 25, who is charged as an accessory, goaded Glover into the attack.
Before the start of the court-martial, Glover admitted to a lesser charge of unpremeditated murder in hopes of receiving a lighter sentence. But prosecutor Capt. Gregg Engler went ahead with the court-martial on the more serious charge of premeditated murder.
When he offered his plea, Glover sobbed and said he did not know why he hit Winchell ``at least two or three times″ with a bat.
``I wasn’t really mad at him, sir. It was just a mistake, sir. I was really drunk,″ Glover told the judge. Glover never addressed the allegation that he hated homosexuals.
A high school dropout, Glover earned his graduate equivalency diploma, then asked his mother to declare him an adult at age 17 so he could enlist.
During the trial, Staff Sgt. Michael Kleifgen testified that Fisher started spreading rumors in March among members of their unit that Winchell, of Kansas City, Mo., was gay. Fisher often harassed Winchell and once, during a scuffle, struck him with a dustpan, Kleifgen said. Winchell needed stitches in his head.
Kleifgen, their section leader at the time, said he regularly spoke with Fisher and Winchell about their differences. The problems continued, however, so the matter was presented to a first sergeant, he said.
``He said, basically, there was nothing we could do because of the `don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy,″ Kleifgen said, referring to the military’s policy on homosexuals.
He said he also got nowhere pursuing the issue with the company commander and filed a complaint with the post’s inspector general. It was not immediately clear what happened to that complaint.
Under the ``don’t ask, don’t tell″ policy, gay members of the military can continue to serve _ and their superiors cannot investigate and expel them _ as long as they keep their sexual orientation to themselves.
On Tuesday, Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon said the Defense Department is designing training programs to ensure understanding of the policy.
Fisher, who is from Lincoln, Neb., is to be court-martialed on Monday.
Fort Campbell is on the Kentucky-Tennessee state line about 50 miles northwest of Nashville, Tenn.