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Article 32 Hearing

Soldier Testifies That Accused Hated "Faggots"

Today (August 10, 1999), Ft. Campbell officials continue with a second day of testimony at the Article 32 hearing for Private (PVT) Calvin Glover. Glover has been charged with allegedly committing premeditated murder of Private First Class (PFC) Barry Winchell. An Article 32 hearing is the militaryís equivalent of a grand jury hearing and will determine whether the case against Glover will proceed to general court-martial.

At the Article 32 hearing on Monday, PFC Ryan Futch who guarded Glover after he was taken into custody, testified that Glover stated that he made disparaging remarks about blacks and "faggots." He also testified that Glover admitted that he had hit Winchell with a baseball bat.

Michelle M. Benecke, Co-Executive Director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, attended the hearing yesterday at Ft. Campbell, KY. "It is still too early to say whether this crime was wholly or partially motivated by anti-gay bias. Our own preliminary investigation into the murder finds that the concerns that this may have been an anti-gay hate crime are serious. We, however, remain very concerned that the Army does not have the expertise necessary to investigate possible bias-motivated crimes. PFC Futch testified that Army investigators did not ask him about anti-gay comments made by Glover while in custody, but had to volunteer the information himself."

NBC News reported yesterday that a soldier told the news agency that Glover was taunted by others in his unit for "letting a faggot beat him up." While soldiers yesterday testified that Winchell had bested PVT Calvin Glover in a fist fight the night of July 3, Army investigators did not testify about Glover allegedly being taunted. Information about anti-gay taunting may provide evidence going toward motive if Glover committed the murder.

NBC News also reported last night that a retired soldier heard from a medic called to the scene of the murder that soldiers were standing around Winchell after the attack and yelling anti-gay epithets at him. Army officials did not introduce any such information at the Article 32 hearing yesterday.

C. Dixon Osburn, SLDN Co-Executive Director, who is monitoring the case from Washington, D.C., stated, "Army Secretary Caldera has not addressed our concerns about Ft. Campbellís expertise in handling potential bias crimes investigations and prosecutions. We have specifically recommended to him that Army CID consult with experts in the FBI Hate Crimes Unit. To our knowledge, no steps have been taken to address the lack of expertise in this area. Our concerns have been heightened by comments (1) questioning the relevance of anti-gay bias to the investigation, (2) discounting the safety concerns of potential witnesses, and (3) reflecting inexperience in asking appropriate questions to identify bias crime indicators. If anti-gay bias is present in this case, that information goes directly to motive, identifying potential witnesses, how investigators approach those witnesses, and the questions investigators would ask those witness."

Soldiers testified that there had been rumors that Winchell, a 21-year old anti-armor weapons operator, was gay. Calpernia Addams, who had been in a relationship with Mr. Winchell, attended the hearing at Ft. Campbell yesterday.

Soldiers testified that early July 5, Winchell was found beaten and unconscious in the hallway outside his barracks. An Army investigator present at the autopsy testified that Winchell died of severe blunt force trauma to the head. Winchell was allegedly beaten repeatedly with a baseball bat, cracking Winchellís skull.

The Article 32 hearing for Glover continues today. The Article 32 hearing for a second soldier, Specialist (SPC) Justin R. Fisher, has been tentatively set for Saturday, August 14, 1999. Fisher has been charged with allegedly participating as a principal to premeditated murder; acting as an accessory after the fact; making false statements under oath; and obstructing the investigation. Fisher was Winchellís roommate.

Michelle M. Benecke and SLDN Staff Attorney, Kathi Westcott, will attend the Article 32 hearing today. SLDN is an independent national legal aid and watchdog organization that assists men and women in the military who face witch hunts, hate crimes, harassment and discharge under "Donít Ask, Donít Tell, Donít Pursue." In five years, SLDN has directly assisted more than 1,800 military members.

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