Sunday, September 13, 2009

Corpsman pleads guilty to role in deadly game

By Trista Talton - Staff writer
Posted : Sunday Sep 13, 2009 10:38:31 EDT

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — A Navy corpsman pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges he pointed a loaded gun at a Marine in his unit while playing a dangerous game called “Trust.”

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Spencer Hamer, 23, was sitting in the back of a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle in Iraq in November 2008 when he aimed his 9mm at Lance Cpl. Emerson Boutin and asked “Do you trust me?” The game was popular with members of their unit, 2nd section, Scout Platoon, 2nd Tank Battalion, and ultimately resulted in the death of another Marine from their battalion, military investigators say.

A military judge sentenced Hamer to two months in the brig and reduction in rank to hospitalman. During his special court-martial at Camp Lejeune, where 2nd Tanks is based, he pleaded not guilty to additional charges of dereliction of duty and failure to report.

Hamer is at least the third member of his section to be punished for playing Trust.

Lance Cpl. Patrick Malone died in Iraq on March 10, investigators say, after Cpl. Mathew Nelson allegedly shot him during a game of Trust. Nelson is expected to plea guilty Thursday to involuntary manslaughter and several counts of reckless endangerment, Marine officials say.

The Trust game was typically instigated by a noncommissioned officer who would partially insert a magazine into his M9 and pretend to rack the slide so it would appear a round was in the chamber, Marines in the unit told investigators after Malone’s death. The Marine holding the gun would then ask a junior Marine, “Do you trust me?” before either pulling the trigger or lowering the gun and clearing it.

Additional articles about this incident:

From the AP

Can deadly trust game be stopped?

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