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Soldier Found Guilty of Murder

December 9, 1999

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.

Glover 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.

Defense attorneys argued that another soldier, Spec. Justin R. Fisher, 25, who was 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 pressed on with the court-martial, seeking to prove the more serious charge of premeditated murder.

When he offered his plea, Glover sobbed while recalling the killing to the judge, Col. Gary J. Holland. He 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.

During the trial, Staff Sgt. Michael Kleifgen testified that Fisher started spreading rumors in March among members of their unit that Winchell 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.

Glover, who is from Sulphur, Okla., could get up to life in prison without parole. Fisher, who is from Lincoln, Neb., will be court-martialed on Monday.

Fort Campbell is on the Kentucky-Tennessee state line about 50 miles northwest of Nashville, Tenn.

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