Local News

Soldier Charged in 1995 Attack at Bragg Returns to Court

Posted June 8, 2007 12:53 p.m. EDT
Updated June 8, 2007 4:48 p.m. EDT

— Almost 12 years after he is accused of opening fire on his unit at Fort Bragg, a soldier returned to court Friday to begin the court-martial process a second time.

Sgt. William J. Kreutzer Jr. was arraigned Friday morning on one specification of premeditated murder and 18 specifications of attempted murder, as well as one specification of violating a general order by transporting weapons on post and one specification of larceny of government property.

The charges stem from an Oct. 27, 1995, shooting at Towel Stadium of members of the 2nd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division. Maj. Stephen Mark Badger was killed and 18 other soldiers were wounded in the ambush attack, which came during an early-morning  run by hundreds of paratroopers.

Two Special Operations soldiers tackled Kreutzer, who they said was firing on his comrades from some nearby woods.

Kreutzer admitted in a June 1996 trial that he opened fire on the troops, but his original attorneys argued that he had mental problems stemming from harassment by soldiers under his command.

Soldiers referred to him as "Crazy Kreutzer," noting his love for guns and lack of a social life. An Army doctor testified that he had a mixture of paranoia and narcissistic traits.

Kreutzer was convicted in the 1996 trial of premeditated murder and 18 counts of attempted murder and was sentenced to death. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces overturned the conviction and death sentence in August 2005, ruling that Kreutzer's defense attorney was ineffective and that the military judge handling the trial erred in denying mitigating testimony.

Kreutzer, who has been appointed two new military attorneys, didn't enter a plea Friday.

His trial has been set for next April 1, but authorities said he could negotiate a plea deal before then to avoid the death penalty.