Local News

Kreutzer Trial to Delay Bragg Barracks Project

Posted September 21, 2007 3:05 p.m. EDT
Updated September 21, 2007 4:43 p.m. EDT

— A military judge on Friday put a multimillion-dollar expansion at Fort Bragg on hold so a forensic expert could examine the site where a soldier opened fire on his unit 12 years ago.

Sgt. William J. Kreutzer Jr. is facing a court-martial next April in connection with an Oct. 27, 1995, shooting at Towle Stadium. Hundreds of paratroopers in the 2nd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division were ambushed during an early morning run, and Maj. Stephen Mark Badger was killed and 18 other soldiers were wounded.

Defense attorneys asked Wednesday that the woods near Towle Stadium be preserved so an expert could examine the crime scene and explain it to jurors during the death penalty trial.

The woods were being cleared to make way for new barracks on the post.

Col. Patrick Parrish, the military judge handling the case, ruled Friday that construction at the site should be put off until next year. He ordered the forensic expert, who hasn't been appointed yet, finish an examination of the crime scene by Dec. 31.

Kreutzer is charged with one specification of premeditated murder, 18 specifications of attempted murder, one specification of violating a general order by transporting weapons on post and one specification of larceny of government property.

He was convicted in a 1996 trial 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.

Parrish also approved a defense request to have a positron emission topography, or PET, test of Kreutzer’s brain to determine if he has an organic brain disorder and to appoint an expert to interpret the test results. But he didn't rule on the admissibility of the test results.

But the judge denied a request that an experienced investigator be appointed to the defense team to help interview witnesses.