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Soldier wants statement kept out of court-martial

Posted December 7, 2010

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— An 82nd Airborne Division soldier who is accused of killing his brother-in-law on Fort Bragg on asked a military judge Tuesday to keep a statement he made to investigators out of his court-martial.

Spc. Eric A. Mead, 26, of Detroit, is charged with premeditated murder, attempted premeditated murder and violation of an order.

Mead's brother-in-law, Stephen Harris, was killed May 9 inside Mead's home in the Casablanca housing area on post, authorities said. Mead's wife was injured in the incident.

Authorities haven't disclosed how Harris was killed and his sister injured, nor have they released details of a possible motive.

The day before the slaying, Mead's unit commander ordered him to stay away from his wife because of previous verbal altercations, authorities said.

Mead was apprehended shortly after the incident at a Fort Bragg checkpoint.

Brian Harris, a special agent with the Army Criminal Investigative Command, said during Tuesday's court hearing that Mead told him that he heard a voice in his head and had been seeing a therapist for a few months.

Prosecutors showed video of an interview after the arrest in which Harris read him his rights and asked Mead if he wanted a lawyer.

"I can't answer any questions because I don't know what (expletive) happened," Mead responded.

Harris said said he told Mead he needed to help him understand what took place. He said it appeared Mead wanted to open up, and that's why he went on with the interview.

Mead's defense attorney, Maj. Jacqueline Tubbs, said it was obvious from the video that Mead had requested a lawyer so the questioning should have stopped.

"How clear does it have to be, unless we're playing the 'no' means 'yes' game," Tubbs said.

Tubbs wants the judge to prevent military prosecutors from introducing the statement as evidence during the court-martial. The judge didn't rule on the motion Tuesday.

Mead, who is being held in pretrial confinement at Camp Lejeune, is an indirect-fire infantryman assigned to 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team.

He joined the Army in June 2002 and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2005 and to Iraq in 2006.

19 Comments

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  • rjcware Dec 10, 2010

    Stephen Harris was my brother. Our lives are forever changed due to Mead's actions. There is never an excuse for murdering anyone in cold blood. When Mead said he wanted a lawyer he should've refused to answer anymore questions. Stephen had 3 tours in Iraq, and 1 in Afghanistan. We have pictures of him over there. Thanks to Mead his duaghter will grow up without her father and his family will never see him again. I have lost my baby brother. He had more tours of active duty than Mead and he never killed anyone. So please when making comments remember that the news doesn't have all the facts on all stories they cover. The army doesn't give much information to anyone.

  • imsunj Dec 9, 2010

    Mead should've shut up after he asked for a lawyer! And please let's not say because he was in prolonged combat is why he killed & injured people. Let's praise all of our soldiers that go into combat and serve our country, defending our freedom daily, instead of feeling sorry for someone trying to use that as an excuse for unthinkable acts of violence. Another thing to mention is that Stephen Harris was also a soldier, who had only been out of the army for a few weeks. He too had been on tours of active duty.

  • nevans7 Dec 8, 2010

    All I was trying to say was most soldiers are not aware of their UCMJ rights. How do I know this? I served in the United States Navy and witnessed this problem first hand. Thank you dogluv3r.

  • dogluv3r Dec 8, 2010

    "The UCMJ Article 31 Rights are ALMOST verbatim with the Miranda rights"
    Thanks smalldogsrule! Must be a dog thing!
    Nevans7, read what was said. They are read their rights and sign a form at time of suspicion. Read the code.
    http://usmilitary.about.com/library/milinfo/ucmj/blart-31.htm

  • nevans7 Dec 7, 2010

    Most soldiers aren't even aware of their UCMJ rights unless a JAG officer is present.

  • smalldogsrule Dec 7, 2010

    The UCMJ Article 31 Rights are ALMOST verbatim with the Miranda rights warnings that are read to civilians. They are generally read and a form with them SIGNED acknowledging that they have been read and understood. If this is the case, the investigators stepped in it and have made their case much harder.

  • UPTOP Dec 7, 2010

    The brother was defending his sister and lost his life for it !!

  • gandalla Dec 7, 2010

    dirty cop tricks at their best, well he said he couldnt answer any questions but we kept asking anyways.
    And the UCMJ doesnt have "miranda" as we know it but they have something similar which it appears this soldier invoked.

  • nevans7 Dec 7, 2010

    dogluv3r: Soldiers have no Miranda rights. Miranda laws have no bearing on a military court of law. The UCMJ takes precedence there.

  • johnwhite Dec 7, 2010

    @Worland - you hit the nail on the head...we have a lot of people in this Country who want to blame everyone else other then themselves. Pick yourself up by the bootstraps people. Your action is your own action, you are a grown adult and I am sure things affect you but there are a lot more people who don't get affected. Thanks to all the veterans out there coping and not blaming others. @chevybelair ? horrible comment, my father was in Vietnam and he has the scars but he is a good man and would never blame anyone else, he is a REAL man

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