Action Alert: Call for Resignation
The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) asks you to contact President
Clinton and military leaders to (1) call for the resignation of Major General
Clarke, Commanding General of the 101st Airborne Division at Ft. Campbell, KY
for permitting a climate of harassment and violence at the base that continues
even after the murder of Private First Class Barry Winchell, and (2) to protest
the light sentence the Army has given to Specialist Justin Fisher, the second
defendant in the murder of Private First Class Barry Winchell at Fort Campbell.
1. Resignation of Major General Clarke. Barry Winchell was harassed
daily for more than 4 months prior to being murdered. Soldiers report that
anti-gay harassment has continued in force at Fort Campbell even after
Winchell's murder. In some cases, soldiers have even mocked Winchell's murder,
making references to "faggots" and baseball bats, as a way to
intimidate others. Soldiers have left Ft. Campbell recently (SLDN has assisted
2 soldiers) because they feared for their safety due to the continuing
harassment at the base. SLDN has asked the Army and Department of Defense to
take steps to stop the harassment, but nothing has been done.
Major General Clarke is the commander responsible for setting this command
climate. Had he set the proper command climate, PFC Winchell might be alive
today. Other soldiers would not have been forced to leave or face potential
violence against them.
Major General Clarke is the commander responsible for the lack of
supervision, lack of leadership and excessive drinking in the barracks that,
with anti-gay harassment, created the conditions in which Private Calvin
Glover could murder PFC Winchell.
2. Lenient Plea Agreement. Major General Clarke is the commander
responsible for granting a lenient plea agreement to SPC Fisher that does not
hold him accountable for his role in goading PVT Glover to attack Barry
Winchell. The plea agreement is a travesty.
PFC Winchell faced 4 months of rumors, verbal gay-bashing and even being
assaulted by SPC Fisher. On one occasion, SPC Fisher assaulted Winchell with a
dust pan, opening a wound that required Winchell to receive stitches and that
spattered blood on their barracks room door, which Fisher left as a
"reminder." Instead of stopping the harassment, unit leaders
launched an illegal investigation into Winchell's sexual orientation and
directly questioned him about his sexual orientation.
According to testimony at PVT Glover's court-martial, Fisher played a
primary role in Barry's murder including: giving PVT Glover the baseball bat;
washing the blood off the bat; planning how to cover up the crime; being the
primary soldier who taunted Barry about being gay and spread rumors about
Barry; and prompting PVT Glover to kill Barry.
Today (01/10/00), SPC Fisher was sentenced to 12.5 years in prison for his
role in PFC Winchell's murder. SPC Fisher plead guilty to two counts of
obstructing justice (including washing blood off the murder weapon), three
counts of false swearing and providing alcohol to a minor. The maximum
sentence for these charges is 20 years in prison. The military judge, Colonel
Pangburn, sentenced SPF Fisher to 14 years, but the sentence was capped at
12.5 years by the plea bargain agreement.
SPC Fisher originally faced additional charges including being a principal
to premeditated murder by allegedly encouraging PVT Glover, to strike Winchell
and acting as an accessory after the fact. In exchange for pleading guilty to
the lesser charges against him, SPC Fisher agreed to testify against Glover,
who was convicted on December 9, 1999, of premeditated murder for beating PFC
Winchell to death with a baseball bat while Winchell slept on a cot outside
his room. PVT Glover is currently serving a sentence of life in prison with a
possibility of parole in 10 years.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP:
Ask President Clinton, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Army
and the Army Chief of Staff for Major General Clark's resignation because he
allowed an anti-gay climate to grow unchecked at the base and tell them that you
are concerned that a soldier who was heavily involved in a brutal murder got
such a lenient sentence.
President William Jefferson Clinton
1600 Pennsylvania Ave
Washington DC 20500
The Honorable William S. Cohen
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington DC 20301-1000
Comment via the Army's web site:
The Honorable Louis Caldera
Secretary of the Army
101 Army Pentagon
Washington DC 20310-0101
Comment via the Army's web site:
General Eric K. Shinseki
Army Chief of Staff
200 Army Pentagon
Washington DC 20301-0200