State News

Soldier gets life sentence in Bragg shooting rampage

Posted March 24, 2009

— A former paratrooper who admitted firing at an exercise formation of fellow soldiers more than 13 years ago was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison.

Col. Patrick Parrish also issued Sgt. William J. Kreutzer Jr. a dishonorable discharge, reduced his rank to private and ordered that he forfeit all military benefits for the October 1995 attack on Fort Bragg.

Kreutzer, 39, of Clinton, Md., pleaded guilty two weeks ago to one count each of premeditated murder, attempted premeditated murder and aggravated assault with a means likely to inflict grievous bodily injury and to 16 counts of aggravated assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily injury.

Parrish upgraded the aggravated assault charges to 16 counts of attempted murder after hearing testimony last week that Kreutzer planned to ambush his unit.

Diane Badger Slain soldier's wife forgives killer

The charges stem from the Oct. 27, 1995, shooting of members of the 82nd Airborne Division's 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment during their morning exercise at Towle Stadium on post. Maj. Stephen Badger, an intelligence officer in the 82nd Airborne Division’s 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, was killed in the rampage, and 18 other soldiers were wounded.

During a sentencing hearing Tuesday, Badger's widow, Diane Badger, testified that he was a "kind and gentle man" who loved his four children "more than anything in the world."

Some of Badger's children, now grown, also testified, saying their father missed out on weddings and the birth of his grandchildren.

Christina Griffith, the wife of another soldier shot in the ambush, described Kreutzer's actions as "cowardly and calculating."

One of Kreutzer's defense attorneys read a statement in court in which Kreutzer apologized for the shooting rampage.

"Not a day goes by that I am not reminded of the damage I caused. My fate is to live with that torment for the rest of my days," Kreutzer said in the statement. "I have been forgiven by Jesus Christ for my sins. Though he has forgiven me, I should have no expectation of forgiveness or benevolence from any of you for what I have done.

"I have not, and will not, forget those that I have hurt."

Diane Badger said after the court hearing that she felt Kreutzer's statement was sincere and that she already has forgiven him.

In exchange for the guilty pleas, military prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty against Kreutzer. He faced an automatic life sentence, but defense attorney Capt. Joseph Venghaus argued that "unusually harsh conditions" at a Camp Lejeune jail where he has been held should have shaved decades off his sentence.

Kreutzer should get credited five to 10 days for every day he has served in confinement, Venghaus told Parrish. That would have amounted to more than 33,000 days, or about 90 years.

Kreutzer was convicted and sentenced to death in 1996, but a military appeals court overturned the sentence, saying his defense lawyers were ineffective.


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  • badmessmom1219 Mar 25, 2009

    Of course Badger's widow forgives Kreutzer, she made off like a bandit recieving 100% of his SGLI. His children recieved nothing!!

  • ifcdirector Mar 24, 2009

    It's stories like this with comments by his lawyer that really make people loathe and despise lawyers as an entire profession.

  • BlowupDollWithChatAmbitions Mar 24, 2009

    I was 2 blocks away when he started shooting. I had just dropped my boyfriend off at his barracks. I heard shooting, but I just assumed it was practice somewhere on base. I can't believe it took 13 years to get a conviction on this guy. The guy should be hung. The soldiers killed would have protected this man in combat with their own lives, and he took theirs away just because. Sick.

  • OSX Mar 24, 2009

    "Sgt. William Kreutzer is led into court at Fort Bragg on March 17, 2009"

    Why is this guy wearing a uniform? I would think if you are dishonorably discharged you don't have the privilege of wearing one.

  • OSX Mar 24, 2009

    For military guys and gals, complete trust is everything. This is the ultimate betrayal of trust. Impatientgirl's dad was there and I agree entirely with her. To be killed by one of your own? Somebody who took the same oath "to be faithful" to the USA as you? I usually tell people I don't hate anybody. I think I need to re-think this because I do hate this guy. I hate him for the damage he has done to this country.

  • housemanagercary Mar 24, 2009

    He's still alive. That's his lesser sentence. He should have been shot on the spot.
    I'm with G-man

    My father was there that morning working on and trying to save some of the soldiers who were fired on first and wounded. My father was then targeted. This man should NOT still be breathing!

  • MamaDummy Mar 24, 2009

    What took so long? Why all this 14 years later? Could someone explain?

  • BigUNCFan Mar 24, 2009

    That is really junk that he is crying pitty tears about this.

    His fault that this happened and no one elses.

    He in my opinion should be given the death penalty.

  • raggy831 Mar 24, 2009

    who really cares how he is being treated! he needs to be put under the jail. you don't take someone life and then live the happy ever after life.

  • furburg Mar 24, 2009

    How do u credit years on a life sentence he is already serving?