Local News

Testimony: Soldier Warned He Would `Mow Everyone Down'

Posted June 9, 1996

— June 10, 1996 - 4:40 p.m. EDTBy ESTES THOMPSON,Associated Press Writer

A paratrooper who killed one soldier and wounded 18 in a sniper attack during morning calisthenics had warned the night before that he would ``mow everyone down,'' a comrade testified at a court-martial Monday.

``I didn't take it too seriously,'' Spc. Burl Mays said of Sgt. William Kreutzer's warnings. ``The last thing he told me was he had to go, he was loading magazines.''

Kreutzer, 27, pleaded guilty to non-capital murder in the attack Oct. 27, but prosecutors rejected the plea because they want the death penalty. At the court-martial they must show Kreutzer's actions were premeditated. A military jury will decide his punishment.

Both the prosecution and defense had rested by mid-afternoon Monday, the first day of the court-martial. Tuesday's proceedings will include rebuttal testimony and closing arguments.

Kreutzer admits he opened fire from the woods on 1,300 paratroopers from his own unit as they set out in the fog and dark on an early morning four-mile run.

The defense contends that he had mental problems stemming from harassment by soldiers under his command. Kreutzer, who loved guns and had no social life, was called names like ``Crazy Kreutzer'' and ``Silence of the Lambs,'' said defense attorney Capt. Stephen Stokes.

Maj. C.J. Diebold, chief of psychiatry at Fort Bragg's Womack Army Medical Center and a defense witness, said Kreutzer had ``a mixture of paranoid and narcissistic personality traits.''

He ``read detrimental meanings into others' benign comments,'' Diebold said.

During the testimony about harassment, members of Kreutzer's squad laughed as they listened over closed-circuit television in an overflow room.

Mays testified that Kreutzer called him the night before the attack and ``said he was going to mow everyone down the following day on the brigade task force run.''

Mays said he brushed off the comments but got worried when Kreutzer wasn't in his barracks room at 5 a.m. Mays said he told platoon and company leaders, but his concerns were dismissed.

Kreutzer's parents sat in the cramped courtroom while their son watched the proceedings impassively at his attorneys' table. The parents, William Sr. and Cathy Kreutzer of Clinton, Md., had no comment on the testimony.

A former sergeant in Kreutzer's unit testified that when the unit was sent to the Sinai from January to July 1994, Kreutzer threatened to shoot the other soldiers at a desert observation post because they harassed him.

William Knight said he told officers, and Kreutzer was transferred. Back at Fort Bragg, he said, Kreutzer talked about killing generals.

Kreutzer's lawyer said Kreutzer loved guns and would spend time with his weapons instead of family or girlfriends. ``This case is about a crumbling human condition,'' the defense attorney said.

Copyright ©1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or distributed.


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