US Soldier Convicted in Beating Death Near German Base | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 28.02.2009
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US Soldier Convicted in Beating Death Near German Base

A US soldier has been found guilty of participating in gang-initiation rites that led to the beating death of another solider near a military base in Germany three years ago.

The entrance to the US Army European Command in Stuttgart, Germany

The soldier was let off charges of manslaughter

At a military trial by court-martial, Pvt. Bobby Morrissette was sentenced to 42 months in confinement and given a bad conduct discharge for his involvement in the death of Sgt. Juwan Johnson in 2005.

Sgt. Johnson was badly beaten in a Gangster Disciples initiation, known as a jumping-in ceremony, on July 3, 2005 in Kaiserslautern, where U.S. forces have a base. He was found dead in his barracks room the next day.

During a three-day trial, the court heard witnesses describe how up to nine gang members hit and kicked Johnson for six minutes during the initiation, US Department of Defense-authorized daily newspaper Stars and Stripes reported on Friday, Feb. 27.

No manslaughter

Morrissette was also found guilty of impeding an investigation, impeding a trial by court-martial and willfully disobeying a superior commissioned officer. He was however acquitted of more serious charges of voluntary manslaughter and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault.

Johnson's mother, Stephanie Cockrell, told the Associated Press in 2005 that she had spoken to her son the day before his death and he told her he was coming home in two weeks after completing an 18-month tour of duty in Iraq.

"I slept a little easier knowing he was out of Iraq and coming home soon," she said at the time.

Morrissette was also convicted of committing an indecent act on a female in the presence of another person and wrongful use of a controlled substance, both stemming from a separate incident, the publication said.

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