Local News

Judge: Soldier competent for trial in Bragg shootings

Posted March 5, 2009 4:01 p.m. EST
Updated March 5, 2009 4:13 p.m. EST

— A military judge ruled Thursday that a former Fort Bragg soldier accused of opening fire on his own unit in 1995 is competent to stand trial.

Sgt. William J. Kreutzer Jr. is charged with premeditated murder, 18 counts of attempted murder, violating a general order by transporting weapons on post and larceny of government property involving the theft of ammunition.

The charges stem from the Oct. 27, 1995, shooting of members of the 82nd Airborne Division's 2nd Brigade during their morning exercise at Towle Stadium on post. One paratrooper was killed and 18 others were wounded during the rampage.

Kreutzer was sentenced to death in a 1996 court-martial, but a military appeals court overturned the sentence in 2005, ruling that his first lawyers were ineffective.

During a Wednesday hearing to prepare for Kreutzer's retrial, defense attorney Maj. Eric Carpenter argued that Kreutzer isn't competent to stand trial because he won't be able to "testify appropriately."

A psychologist testified during the hearing that Kreutzer suffers from depression and a mental disorder called flat affect, which doesn't allow him to show his emotions. Kreutzer's lawyer said that could alienate a jury.

An Army psychologist testified that Kreutzer is paranoid and depressed but would be able to assist in his defense.

Col. Patrick Parrish, the military judge handling the case, said Thursday he believes Kreutzer is competent for trial. A trial is expected sometime this year, but a date hasn't been set.