Thursday, October 09, 2008

Pvt. Charged in Gang Beating Death of Sergeant

The Associated PressPosted : Wednesday Oct 8, 2008 14:00:09 EDT

BERLIN — A soldier has been charged in the gang-related beating death of another soldier at a base in Germany, the military said Wednesday.

Pvt. Bobby D. Morrissette was charged with involuntary manslaughter, conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, two counts of participation in gang initiation rituals and several other offenses, the military said in a statement.

The charges relate to the beating death of Sgt. Juwan Johnson, of Baltimore, on July 4, 2005 in Kaiserslautern, Germany.

The Army released no further details, but at the trial of others involved in the case witnesses testified that at least six members of the Gangster Disciples gang beat Johnson during a gang initiation ritual.

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. “I just can’t believe he survived Iraq, but died in his own bed.”

Morrissette is assigned to the 1st Cargo Transfer Company, 18th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion in Grafenwoehr, Germany.

He was charged Tuesday, and no date has yet been set for his court-martial, the military said.
The military said it had no information on whether an attorney for Morrissette had been appointed.

--submitted by Patti Woodard

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