Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Paratrooper charged in fellow soldier's death

Joe Gould, jgould@militarytimes.com

A Fort Bragg, N.C., paratrooper shot and killed a fellow soldier at his house earlier this month and waited in his front yard for the police to arrest him, according to Fayetteville police.

"He walked outside into his front yard, put the rifle on the ground and sat on a telephone box," said police spokesman Dan Grubb. "He was very cool, calm and collected."

Police charged Spc. Jaime Aaron Guzman, 21, with first-degree murder in the May 18 death of Pvt. Brian Goldberg, 21, of Wilmington, N.C., Grubb said.

Goldberg was a forward observer with 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. He deployed to Iraq between December 2008 and June 2009. He was awarded the Army Commendation Medal posthumously.

Guzman is a wheeled vehicle mechanic with the 503rd Support Company, 189th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 82nd Sustainment Brigade.

Grubb said it appeared there had been a party the night before at Guzman's house, which is near the post. Guzman left, returned later and encountered Goldberg, whom he knew, Grubb said.

During an argument between the two, Guzman used a .308-caliber rifle to shoot Goldberg in the right side of his chest, said Grubb. "It was a very powerful, very long sniper rifle," he said.

Guzman was in the custody of the Cumberland County Detention Center on May 20.

The murder is the latest in a string of unrelated violent assaults involving Fort Bragg soldiers that have made headlines.

On May 18, Spc. Eric Mead, 26, was charged in the death of Stephen Harris, 26, a former infantryman, and with injuring his wife. Mead is an indirect fire infantryman with the 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment.

On April 28, Spc. Travis D. Condor, 25, was charged in an attack on a homeless man in Cincinnati. Condor is an infantryman with 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Regiment.

On Jan. 29, Spc. Aaron Michael Pernell, 22, was charged with multiple criminal charges in a series of break-ins and rapes of women in Fayetteville, N.C., and Hoke County. Pernell is an indirect fire infantryman
with the 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment.

Fort Bragg soldier charged with murder
Paratrooper allegedly killed brother-in-law, attacked wife

Joe Gould, jgould@militarytimes.com

Former Pvt. Stephen Harris' family is in anguish over unanswered questions about his death at the hands of his estranged wife's brother, Fort Bragg, N.C., paratrooper Spc. Eric A. Mead, at the post earlier this month.

Weeks after Mead allegedly killed Harris and injured Mead's wife, Melissa Younce, the Harris family said the Army is not providing them with answers about the events leading to Harris's death.

"No one from the Army has contacted my parents. Period. And mom has left 50 messages," said the sister, Juanita Ware, of Hayesville, N.C. "We know he was murdered and that's all we know."

The Army has said Mead and his wife had argued, and that on May 8, Mead's unit commander issued a no-contact order to keep him away from his wife, and he was to sleep in a unit barracks.

Nevertheless Mead came to his quarters in the Casablanca housing area the following day, where he attacked Younce, who was there with Harris. Mead was caught at a post exit by military police.

Ware said Harris' throat was slit, though the Army has not disclosed publicly the nature of his injuries.

On May 18, Mead was charged with murder and attempted murder. His wife was in stable condition at Womack Army Medical Center, according to Maj. Brian Finkel, an Army spokesman.

Mead, 26, of Detroit, is an indirect fire infantryman with 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. He joined the Army in 2002 deployed to Afghanistan in 2005 and Iraq in 2006.

He and Harris, 26, of Hayesville, N.C., had a tangled relationship. Harris was Mead's roommate years before, which was how Harris met Mead's sister Jessicah, married her and became Mead's brother-in-law.

Both men had since fathered children with their respective wives and, Ware said, separated from them.

Harris enlisted in October 2001 and separated last month. His sister said he was injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, but an Army spokesman said Harris never deployed.

Ware said Harris' mother has called military police and Army criminal investigators and was told that they cannot share information while the investigation is open. She said they are however speaking with Jessicah
Harris, his estranged wife, the sister of his accused murderer.

"It's horrible because we know nothing," she said. "We know who did it, we know he is in jail, but that's all we know. We're so angry, so angry about the whole situation."

Ware learned from a reporter that Mead had been charged.

"Thank God," she said. "I hope he rots in hell."

Maj. Kristian Sorensen, a post spokesman, said the Army must withhold some information while the investigation is ongoing.

"I understand the family wants answers. CID wants answers too," he said. "As soon as they complete their investigation, they will definitely let them know."

Jessicah Harris did not respond to a request for comment, but she expressed regret and sadness May 16 on her MySpace page. She and their baby daughter live in Colbert, Ga.

"I'm lost without him. How can I deal with losing the person I love the most?" she said in one post, and in another: "He's dead! He missed his daughter's first birthday. I never told him I was sorry ... I wanted to show him I had changed. I loved him more than anything in the world. I don't even think he knew that."

A memorial service with an Army honor guard was set for May 20, Ware said.

Harris will be remembered by his parents, two brothers and two sisters as someone who loved to serve.

"The Army could tell mom and dad, 'We're sorry our soldier killed your son, and we're grateful for everything he's done,'" said Ware. "We just want to know what's going on because they won't tell us anything. We just want to know what's going on."

Joe Gould
Army Times

--submitted by Cilla McCain


Anonymous said...

Harris did deploy. He actually deployed with my husband at one point and I remember seeing him in formation at homecoming. I don't know where the information is coming from, but he was a war vet

Anonymous said...

what a absolutly horrible thing to happen