Local News

Attempted Murder Charges Filed Against Marines Accused Of Parachute Tampering

Posted February 19, 2003 5:41 a.m. EST

— Two Marines have been charged with attempted murder in connection with sabotage to parachutes, some of which failed in the middle of jump training.

According to Staff Sgt. Jay Connolly, 21-year-old Lance Cpl. Antoine D. Boykins of Baltimore and 25-year-old Lance Cpl. Julian C. Ramirez of Los Angeles were charged by the military with the following:

  • 13 specifications of attempted premeditated murder (Article 80),
  • 13 specifications of reckless endangerment (Article 134),
  • 1 specification of conspiracy to commit premeditated murder (Article 81),
  • 1 specification of destruction of government property (Article 108).
  • Both men were air delivery specialists with 2nd Transportation Support Battalion, 2nd Force Support Group.

    They have been held in the brig at Camp Lejeune since the end of January. Ramirez also was charged with unauthorized absence, Connolly said.

    Three Marines suffered minor injuries Sept. 21 after their main parachutes failed, forcing them to use reserve chutes as they jumped from a C-17 Globemaster during heavy equipment parachute training.

    Jumpmasters canceled the training. On their return to Cherry Point Air Station, they discovered suspension lines on 13 of 25 parachutes had been cut and repacked in such a way as to avoid detection.

    Connolly said he had no further explanation of the charges and did not know what sentences the men face.

    As to a possible motive, he said: "I'm sure as the process continues along, that will be made known."

    The afternoon before the incident,, 20 jumpers went through training, and their parachutes were stored in a large locker. There are only three keys to the parachute locker, officials said.

    The parachutes were distributed at random, officials said, but it was unclear if they were assigned the night before. Each Marine carried his own parachute the day of the exercise.

    Ramirez's civilian attorney, Richard McNeil of Jacksonville, did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

    The three military attorneys for the men - one for Ramirez and two for Boykins - also did not immediately return messages.

    An Article 32 hearing, the military equivalent of a grand jury hearing, is slated for early March.