Bragg Hazing Trial Begins Today

Jul 24, 2012

A sergeant accused of hazing a private who then committed suicide goes on trial today at Fort Bragg. Sergeant Adam Holcomb of Youngstown, Ohio, is one of eight soldiers charged in the death of 19-year-old Private Danny Chen, of New York. Military officials say Chen shot himself last year in Afghanistan after weeks of physical and emotional abuse. He was allegedly targeted because he was Chinese-American.

Grover Baxley is a Virginia-based civilian defense counsel for soldiers, and a former member of the Air Force Judge Advocate General Corps. He says hazing has become a prominent concern in the military, following recent bad press and Congressional inquiries.

Grover Baxley: To not just charge Sergeant Holcomb with hazing or maltreatment, which apparently they have, but to take it that one step further and say that that hazing and maltreatment was the proximate cause of his death, despite the fact that Private Chen committed suicide that seems to be a step that the military has not taken before, but is largely in response to the public scrutiny the military is under with regard to hazing.

Holcomb faces nearly 18 years in prison if convicted of all charges at his court martial. Seven other soldiers will be tried over the next several months.