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Soldier to be sentenced after character witnesses testify

Post by Matt Misterek / The News Tribune on Feb. 23, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
February 23, 2011 4:41 pm

A Stryker soldier from Montesano is awaiting sentencing today after being convicted of assaulting a comrade and participating in a conspiracy to carry out that beating.

Lawyers are calling character witnesses to help an Army judge determine a sentence for Spc. Adam Kelly at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Kelly pleaded guilty this morning to beating up then-Pfc. Justin Stoner with six other soldiers after Stoner complained about drug use among members of his platoon in the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

Army judge Lt. Col. Kwasi Hawks also found Kelly guilty of joining a conspiracy to harm Stoner.

Hawks found Kelly not guilty of charges that he used drugs during his deployment and obstructing an Army investigation.

Kelly, 26, is one of 12 soldiers in his platoon accused of misconduct at Forward Operating Base Ramrod in Afghanistan last year. Five are accused of murdering civilians during patrols; Kelly is not among those five.

Kelly’s attorney, Capt. Scott Crivelli, argued that Kelly beat up Stoner because he didn’t like the private.

“What we have here is the government trying to convict Spc. Kelly of other charges simply by guilt by association,” Crivelli said.

Prosecutors countered that Kelly’s actions were intended to intimidate Stoner.

“He did it because he did not want Stoner to talk,” Army Capt. Dre Leblanc said.

Kelly is expected to be sentenced this afternoon.

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