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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — The first of eight court-martial trials was set to begin Tuesday for U.S. soldiers accused of hazing a Chinese-American recruit over his ethnicity until he killed himself in Afghanistan.|
Sgt. Adam Holcomb of Youngstown, Ohio, will be the first of eight men to go before a military court in Fort Bragg. Young faces a slew of charges, the most serious of which is negligent homicide, and could get only 18 years in prison if convicted on all counts. His case was set to start around 1 p.m. after the judge delayed the original morning start time, without giving a reason, court spokesman Thom McCollum said.
Military officials say 19-year-old Danny Chen shot himself last year in Afghanistan after weeks of emotional and physical abuse. According to court documents, Chen was kicked, dragged from his tent and had sandbags tied to his arms.
He was called racial slurs and forced to speak to his fellow soldiers in Chinese, according to his family, with whom he shared details of his ordeal. For months, beginning during training, soldiers in his platoon peppered him with racial insults such as "Jackie Chen" and "Dragon Lady," his family said. On the day he died, they say he was forced to crawl about 100 yards across gravel carrying his equipment while his fellow soldiers threw rocks at him.
He had been deployed for two months when he was found dead in a guardhouse.