Posted: Friday, February 23rd, 2007 5:14 AM HST
Hickam airman charged with fellow airman's shooting death
By Associated Press
HONOLULU (AP) _ A Hawaii-based airman has been charged with the shooting death of a fellow Hickam airman in Iraq last year.
A military charge sheet says Airman First Class Kyle Dalton shot Airman First Class Carl Ware Junior with a nine-millimeter pistol.
Military officials say Dalton will face a court-martial on April 23rd at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia.
Few details, including a motive, have been revealed about the shooting.
The military first reported the death as a non-combat related incident. Ware, who was 22 years old, was married to Senior Airman Christine Ware, also of Hickam Air Force Base. The couple have a one-year-old daughter, Caitlyn.
From the Air Force Times:
A1C accused of killing fellow airman in Iraq
By Erik Holmes - staff writerPosted : Saturday Feb 24, 2007 6:16:36 EST
Airman 1st Class Carl J. Ware Jr. was to return from his six-month deployment to Iraq in time — if barely — for the birth of their second daughter in January. Instead, Carl Ware came home months early in a flag-draped casket, the victim of an alleged fratricide July 1 at the hands of his roommate, friend and squadron-mate at Camp Bucca in southern Iraq.
Carl and Christine Ware were relative newlyweds, and they weren’t inclined to make plans beyond getting ready for the new baby.
After all, they were only 22 years old and assumed they had all the time in the world to think about the future.
“Our only plan was to get a new vacuum when he got home,” said Christine Ware, a former airman. “The only thing we knew was that we wanted to come home [to Delaware] on vacation to have the baby.”
Airman 1st Class Kyle J. Dalton, like Ware a member of the 15th Security Forces Squadron at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, faces court-martial on charges of murder, assault and wrongfully drawing or aiming a firearm after allegedly shooting and killing Ware with a 9mm handgun. The Air Force declined to release Dalton’s age and hometown, citing privacy concerns.
Dalton’s court-martial is scheduled to begin April 23 at Langley Air Force Base, Va.; if convicted, he will face life in prison, a dishonorable discharge and forfeiture of all pay and allowances.
Dalton, who has been in the Air Force since July 2003, is not in pretrial confinement, but he remains in Southwest Asia at an undisclosed base. A Central Command Air Forces spokesman declined to say where Dalton is stationed, citing “host nation sensitivities.”
His tour was extended so he could be closer to his defense counsel, Capt. Jason Robertson, who is at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar.
Dalton and Ware deployed in May with the 886th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron to Camp Bucca, an Army detention facility for captured enemy fighters.
The Air Force Safety Center originally said in July that Ware’s death was the result of an accidental discharge while another airman was cleaning a weapon.
Christine Ware, who now lives in Glassboro, N.J., said it didn’t become clear until months later that the incident was being treated as a murder. But she said she was suspicious from the beginning.
“I personally don’t believe it was an accident,” she said. “I never thought that’s what happened in the first place.”
Ware’s parents, Carl and Rosalie Ware of Dinuba, Calif., said the Air Force told them in November that it was time “to stop referring to Carl’s death as an accident.”
Charges were filed Nov. 30, and Dalton had an Article 32 hearing — roughly equivalent to a civilian grand jury proceeding — Dec. 20 at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. Neither Dalton’s attorney nor the prosecuting attorney responded to requests for comment.
The chain of events alleged by the Air Force is still unclear. CentAF has refused to release signed summaries of the statements made by witnesses at the Article 32 hearing, despite the fact that the hearing was open to the public. A CentAF spokesman said the summaries are not releasable because making them public could prejudice the court-martial.
Christine Ware, now 23, said even she does not have the full story of the allegations because the Air Force has not provided her with the investigation report. She filed a request for it under the Freedom of Information Act.
She declined to reveal all the details of what she has heard about the events.
“I don’t want to compromise anything that’s going to happen,” she said, referring to the trial.
Ware and Dalton met at Hickam in early 2006, Christine Ware said, but they were only acquaintances while in Hawaii.
Members of the 15th Security Forces Squadron form a tight-knit group and hang out together socially, but Dalton had been at Hickam only since January 2006 and the men were assigned to different flights, so they didn’t know each other well.
Christine Ware has met Dalton twice, both times at barbecues thrown at the Wares’ home in Hawaii. “He was nice,” she said. “He didn’t seem like he was capable of killing someone.”
Another member of their squadron who trained in Texas and then deployed with Ware and Dalton said the two seemed to get along well. The source asked not to be identified because he is not authorized to talk to reporters.
The men were friends and shared common interests such as video games, the source said.
“To my knowledge there was never any friction between Airman Ware and Airman Dalton,” the source said.
“They never expressed any displeasure toward each other. They were actually very good friends, from what I could see.”
How this friendship allegedly disintegrated into a shooting death and murder charge is unknown.
What is clear from documents released by the Air Force is that there were at least two, and possibly three, separate incidents during a one-month period in which Dalton allegedly brandished a firearm toward Ware.
The first and second, for which Dalton has been charged with assault, occurred around June 1 and June 30, according to Air Force documents.
Christine Ware, who said she just recently learned of those incidents, told Air Force Times that Dalton allegedly pointed a loaded firearm at the feet of Ware and another airman. The other airman, according to the documents, was Airman 1st Class Ryan J. Gasper, also of the 15th Security Forces Squadron. Gasper, who has returned to his unit in Hawaii, said he does not want to discuss the incidents until after Dalton’s trial.
About 3 p.m. July 1, Dalton shot Ware in the chest with a 9mm handgun while the men were in their shared dorm room, authorities said. It is unclear whether the murder charge and the second assault charge are related to the same incident, and a CentAF spokesman was unable to clarify.
The charge sheet released by the Air Force originally listed both incidents as occurring on July 1, but someone then crossed out that date regarding the second assault charge and changed it to June 30.
Ware’s father, Carl Ware Sr., said that medics on the scene did all they could to save his son.
“It appears that
the bullet wound caused such massive injury initially that there just wasn’t much they could do,” he said.
Christine Ware said she does not know what the motive for the alleged murder was, but she hopes to get more information when Air Force lawyers brief her in the coming weeks. She also hopes to learn more about a possible motive at the trial, which she plans to attend.
“I have, like, 18 different stories on how it happened,” Christine Ware said, “but not so much why it happened.”
Christine Ware is an amiable young mother of two who laughs easily and often, despite losing her husband eight months ago.
She and Carl had been together since they were 14 years old, and she was drawn to his ability to use humor to put others at ease.
“He always made a joke out of the situation, whatever it was,” she said. “No matter what was going on, he was always calm, and he was able to make a bad situation better.”
The couple married at Waikiki Beach, Hawaii, in January 2003 after Christine finished Air Force basic military training. Carl enlisted in the service about a year later.
Their first daughter, Caitlyn, was born in July 2005, and their second daughter, Carly, was born Jan. 5. Carl was scheduled to return from Iraq a couple weeks before Carly’s birth, and the Wares were planning a trip to Delaware and New Jersey to have the baby.
Carl’s relationship with his parents was strained, and Christine said the couple regarded David and Barbara Stutzbach of Glassboro, N.J., as their closest family.
Carl lived with the Stutzbachs, his legal guardians, after his family went to California when he was 14.
David Stutzbach served 20 years as an aircraft crew chief in the Air Force, retiring as a master sergeant in 2001. Christine said Carl joined the Air Force in part because he wanted to follow in his guardian’s footsteps and in part because he was interested in police work. “He’s always wanted to be a military police officer,” she said. “He was going to apply to K-9 after he got back from Iraq.”
One of Carl’s favorite hobbies, Christine said, was playing poker with friends. She said the same skills that made him a good poker player also made him a good cop.
“He knew how to read people really well,” she said. “I think it helped him out a lot, because he was able to tell who was lying and who was telling the truth when he interviewed them.”
Despite the seriousness of police work, Christine said, Carl was known in the squadron as something of a class clown.
“He was a jokester at work,” she said, “but he always did it so he could still get the job done and not get in trouble.”
Christine moved to New Jersey after Carl’s death and stayed with the Stutzbachs until September. She now lives just down the street from them and sees them every day.
“They’re like my mom and dad,” she said. “They’ve taken care of us when we’ve needed them.”
Christine is in school to become a kindergarten teacher, and she plans to start working part time after the trial.
She said she promised Carl that she would finish school, and she plans to keep that promise.