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Additional Testmony

Sergeants Testify That Soldier Faced Anti-Gay Harassment For At Least Four Months Prior to Murder

Two Ft. Campbell soldiers today testified that Private First Class (PFC) Barry Winchell faced anti-gay harassment for at least four months prior to his murder and that local command officials took no action to stop the harassment. The testimony came during the second day of an Article 32 hearing for Private (PVT) Calvin Glover who faces the charge of premeditated murder in the death of PFC Winchell.

The Article 32 hearing for a second soldier, Specialist (SPC) Justin R. Fisher, has been tentatively set for Saturday, August 14, 1999. Fisher has been charged with allegedly participating as a principal to premeditated murder by encouraging PVT Glover to strike Winchell; acting as an accessory after the fact; making false statements under oath; and obstructing the investigation.

Sergeant (SGT) Michael Kleifgen, the section leader of the platoon to which PFC Winchell was assigned, testified that he questioned soldiers about their private life four months ago after SPC Fisher told him that he had driven another solider to a gay bar in Nashville, TN. At the hearing, SGT Kleifgen stated that he determined that PFC Winchell was the soldier who had gone to the gay bar. According to SGT Kleifgen, other soldiers in the platoon quickly learned that PFC Winchell was suspected of being gay and started to harass him, calling him anti-gay epithets. Additionally, SGT Kleifgen testified that he directly asked PFC Winchell if he were gay and PFC Winchell denied it. SGT Kleifgen stated that no one in the chain of command ordered the harassment to stop.

SGT Eric Dublielak, the section leader of the platoon to which SPC Fisher was assigned, also testified that SPC Fisher had told him that PFC Winchell might be gay and that there were rampant rumors about PFC Winchellís sexual orientation for up to four months prior to the murder. SGT Dublielak reported that the harassment affected the platoonís climate, leading him to ask PFC Winchell directly about his sexual orientation. PFC Winchell denied the rumors, according to SGT Dublielak. Like SGT Kleifgen, SGT Dublielak testified that no one in the chain of command ordered the harassment to stop.

C. Dixon Osburn, Co-Executive Director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, stated, "The testimony today, if true, suggests that in the months prior to his murder PFC Winchell was asked, pursued and harassed about his perceived sexual orientation in direct violation of "Donít Ask, Donít Tell, Donít Pursue." Our goal for the moment, however, is to learn the full facts of the murder and determine whether anti-gay bias played any part in it."

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