FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — An Army sergeant was sentenced Tuesday to 30 days in prison, a demotion and docked a month's pay for his role in the alleged racial hazing of a fellow soldier who later committed suicide.
Military prosecutors said Sgt. Adam Holcomb and seven other soldiers charged in Pvt. Danny Chen's death physically and emotionally abused the 19-year-old, whose parents were Chinese immigrants. Chen, of New York City, was found dead in an Afghanistan last October from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
A 10-member military jury at Fort Bragg sentenced Holcomb, of Youngstown, Ohio, on Tuesday morning. He faced a maximum of up to two years in prison and a dishonorable discharge. The forfeiture in pay amounts to a little more than $1,000.
"He will always have the stigma of being convicted at a court-martial," his attorney said during closing statements. "Suffice it to say, Sgt. Holcomb has been punished enough."
Holcomb was convicted Monday by the same jury of maltreatment of a subordinate and assault consummated by battery. He was cleared of the most serious charge, negligent homicide. The jurors concluded that Holcomb assaulted Chen by pulling him out of bed and across large rocks. They found Holcomb guilty of maltreatment for calling Chen "Dragon Lady."
The defense called Holcomb an American hero and argued Chen was an incompetent soldier who killed himself because his family disowned him.
Prosecutors argued that Holcomb needed to be punished as an example to other soldiers.