FORT STEWART, Ga. — After 2½ days and testimony from 37 witnesses, the Article 32 for Sgt. Joseph C. Bozicevich, who is accused of fatally shooting two fellow noncommissioned officers, wrapped up Wednesday.
Bozicevich, 39, is charged with two counts of premeditated murder in the deaths of Staff Sgt. Darris J. Dawson, 24, of Pensacola, Fla., and Sgt. Wesley R. Durbin, 26, of Dallas.
The soldiers were assigned to 2nd Platoon, A Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division.
Witnesses of the Sept. 14, 2008, incident at Patrol Base Jurf as Sakhr, Iraq, said during the Article 32 that Dawson, who was Bozicevich’s squad leader, and Durbin, a fellow team leader, were going to counsel him for what officials have said was poor performance.
The shooting occurred between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m., and witnesses testified that they heard shots and saw Bozicevich chase Dawson until Dawson fell down. Durbin was later found inside the patrol base’s Joint Security Station. Both soldiers died from their wounds after they were evacuated from the patrol base.
“There is ample evidence that Sergeant Bozicevich was standing over Sergeant Dawson either holding or pointing a weapon at him,” Maj. Charles Kuhfahl, one of the two prosecutors, said in court.
Evidence also showed that of the three bullets that could be identified, all were found to have been fired from the weapon assigned to Bozicevich, Kuhfahl said. One of those bullets was recovered from Durbin’s spine, Kuhfahl said.
Bozicevich, who listened and took notes throughout the proceeding, declined to make a statement in court.
“You have a previously peaceful soldier, … a guy who had never been aggressive toward anybody, involved in a shooting incident,” Charles Gittins, Bozicevich’s civilian defense attorney, said in court. “He may not be the greatest soldier in the world, but he was a good soldier and he always tried. Something happened in that room that led Sergeant Bozicevich to believe he had to use his weapon.”
Gittins also said that the platoon’s leadership inappropriately spoke to their soldiers about what happened in those early morning hours.
“The soldiers were told what happened, Sergeant Boz is a bad guy, that’s the party line here,” he said.
Col. Michael J. Hargis, a military judge at Fort Bliss, Texas, was the investigating officer for the Article 32. Based on the testimony and evidence from the Article 32, Hargis will make his recommendations on the case to Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo, commanding general of 3rd Infantry Division and the convening authority in the case. Cucolo will then decide if Bozicevich will face a court-martial.
It could be weeks before a decision is made, officials said.
Sgt. Wesley Durbin’s widow Brandi Durbin, right, and parents Carole and Randy Durbin leave the courtroom April 13 during a break in the Article 32 hearing for Sgt. Joseph C. Bozicevich in Fort Stewart, Ga. Bozicevich is charged with the shooting deaths of Durbin and Staff Sgt. Darris Dawson in September of 2008 while he was deployed in Iraq.
Filed under: Military Industrial Complex Tagged: | 2nd Platoon, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Regiment, A Company, Article 32, Charles Gittins, Charles Kuhfahl, Darris J. Dawson, Fort Bliss, Fort Stewart, Joseph C. Bozicevich, Michael J. Hargis, Patrol Base Jurf, Tony Cucolo, Wesley R. Durbin