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8 Charged in Soldier's Death Return Stateside to Face Possible Trial

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The parents of the Manhattan solider who committed suicide in Afghanistan applauded the Army’s decision to hold any trial against the eight soldiers accused of pushing him over the edge in the U.S.

Speaking through an interpreter, the mother of Private Danny Chen, 19, said Thursday that she was thankful the family would be able to face the soldiers from their son’s platoon who are accused of harassing him if they go on trial at Fort Bragg, N.C.

“When I heard the news, my heart felt so much better,” she said at a press conference in Chinatown. “I wanted to make sure they bring the eight people back here, so I can see the trial.”

Chen’s family and supporters spent months appealing to the military to move the trial from Afghanistan, where the suicide took place, to the U.S.

Earlier this year, investigators recommended a court martial for eight soldiers in Chen’s platoon. Charges have been brought against them that range from assault to negligent homicide, though the most serious charge, involuntary manslaughter, has already been dropped.

An Army spokesman says that the reason for the move to Fort Bragg is logistical. Chen’s unit is scheduled to be redeployed to the U.S. in April. If a court martial does take place, Chen’s family says they were told it could begin as early as May.

The fate of the case now rests with the unit’s Commanding Officer, who makes all final decisions regarding whether or not the eight soldiers will face court martial.

Chen committed suicide on October 2, in a guard tower in Kandahar province.

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