Second of eight military men pleads guilty, faces fiercer punishment than Holcomb
Spc. Ryan Offutt was sentenced to six months in prison, rank demotion, and discharge.
“This sentence is a victory for the Chen family and for all Americans,” Council Member Margaret Chin said in a statement regarding the decision. “The removal of Spc. Offutt from the Army is necessary to make clear that the United States Military will not tolerate racism, bigotry, and abuse at the hands of superior officers.”
After pleading guilty to hazing, reckless endangerment and negligent homicide charges against Offutt were dropped, the Daily News said. Offutt had initially faced up to four years in prison.
The military court’s decision comes a couple weeks after the controversial Adam Holcomb trial. Holcomb, whose acquittal of negligent homicide charges and subsequent ‘slap-on-the-wrist’ sentencing spurred reprimand from the Chinatown community and Asian-American politicians. Holcomb was sentenced to 30 days in military prison, a fine slightly more than $1,000, and a rank demotion.
Offutt, along with Holcomb and five other soldiers, is believed to be the direct cause for Pvt. Chen’s suicide last year. Chen shot himself on October 3 after telling his fellow soldiers that his superiors were the reason for the suicide.
Six more soldiers await court martial in North Carolina.
Chen was a Chinatown resident.
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