Stephen Nessen, Reporter, WNYC News
Stephen Nessen reports for the WNYC Newsroom and can often be heard live on Morning Edition.
The first soldier in the court martial trial surrounding the death of Private Danny Chen has been found guilty of assault and mistreatment of a subordinate, but not guilty of the most serious charge of negligent homicide.
Sgt. Adam Holcomb faces 2 and-a-half years in prison.
He was the first of eight soldiers being tried for abuse that prosecutors argued led to Chen committing suicide in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan on Oct. 3, 2011.
Holcomb allegedly referred to Chen using racial slurs like "dragon lady."
The 10-member jury deliberated for two hours after hearing closing arguments. Unlike a civilian court, only seven out of ten jurors must agree on a verdict.
Wellington Chen, Executive Director of the Chinatown Partnership, joined members of New York and North Carolina's Chinatown community at the trial. He called the defense’s argument that Chen killed himself because of family problems “absolutely nonsense.”
“This concept doesn’t exist in Asian culture. We check all around and see who has been disowned by family. Nobody,” he said.
Last week, defense witnesses testified that Pvt. Chen was unfit for military duty.
“If he did not receive adequate training, who sent him to the front? And not just any front, one of the most dangerous hostile outposts, which comes under attack on daily basis,” Chen said.
The defense also argued that Chen had strained relations with his family.
His family testified that was not true.
For more on this story, listen to Soterios Johnson's interview with Drew Brooks of the Fayetteville Observer:
With the Associated Press