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Action Alert: Call for Resignation

The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) asks you to contact President Clinton and military leaders to (1) call for the resignation of Major General Clarke, Commanding General of the 101st Airborne Division at Ft. Campbell, KY for permitting a climate of harassment and violence at the base that continues even after the murder of Private First Class Barry Winchell, and (2) to protest the light sentence the Army has given to Specialist Justin Fisher, the second defendant in the murder of Private First Class Barry Winchell at Fort Campbell.

 

1. Resignation of Major General Clarke. Barry Winchell was harassed daily for more than 4 months prior to being murdered. Soldiers report that anti-gay harassment has continued in force at Fort Campbell even after Winchell's murder. In some cases, soldiers have even mocked Winchell's murder, making references to "faggots" and baseball bats, as a way to intimidate others. Soldiers have left Ft. Campbell recently (SLDN has assisted 2 soldiers) because they feared for their safety due to the continuing harassment at the base. SLDN has asked the Army and Department of Defense to take steps to stop the harassment, but nothing has been done.

Major General Clarke is the commander responsible for setting this command climate. Had he set the proper command climate, PFC Winchell might be alive today. Other soldiers would not have been forced to leave or face potential violence against them.

Major General Clarke is the commander responsible for the lack of supervision, lack of leadership and excessive drinking in the barracks that, with anti-gay harassment, created the conditions in which Private Calvin Glover could murder PFC Winchell.

2. Lenient Plea Agreement. Major General Clarke is the commander responsible for granting a lenient plea agreement to SPC Fisher that does not hold him accountable for his role in goading PVT Glover to attack Barry Winchell. The plea agreement is a travesty.

PFC Winchell faced 4 months of rumors, verbal gay-bashing and even being assaulted by SPC Fisher. On one occasion, SPC Fisher assaulted Winchell with a dust pan, opening a wound that required Winchell to receive stitches and that spattered blood on their barracks room door, which Fisher left as a "reminder." Instead of stopping the harassment, unit leaders launched an illegal investigation into Winchell's sexual orientation and directly questioned him about his sexual orientation.

According to testimony at PVT Glover's court-martial, Fisher played a primary role in Barry's murder including: giving PVT Glover the baseball bat; washing the blood off the bat; planning how to cover up the crime; being the primary soldier who taunted Barry about being gay and spread rumors about Barry; and prompting PVT Glover to kill Barry.

Today (01/10/00), SPC Fisher was sentenced to 12.5 years in prison for his role in PFC Winchell's murder. SPC Fisher plead guilty to two counts of obstructing justice (including washing blood off the murder weapon), three counts of false swearing and providing alcohol to a minor. The maximum sentence for these charges is 20 years in prison. The military judge, Colonel Pangburn, sentenced SPF Fisher to 14 years, but the sentence was capped at 12.5 years by the plea bargain agreement.

SPC Fisher originally faced additional charges including being a principal to premeditated murder by allegedly encouraging PVT Glover, to strike Winchell and acting as an accessory after the fact. In exchange for pleading guilty to the lesser charges against him, SPC Fisher agreed to testify against Glover, who was convicted on December 9, 1999, of premeditated murder for beating PFC Winchell to death with a baseball bat while Winchell slept on a cot outside his room. PVT Glover is currently serving a sentence of life in prison with a possibility of parole in 10 years.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP:

Ask President Clinton, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Army and the Army Chief of Staff for Major General Clark's resignation because he allowed an anti-gay climate to grow unchecked at the base and tell them that you are concerned that a soldier who was heavily involved in a brutal murder got such a lenient sentence.

President William Jefferson Clinton
1600 Pennsylvania Ave
Washington DC 20500
Call: 202.456.1111
Fax: 202.456.2461
president@whitehouse.gov

The Honorable William S. Cohen
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington DC 20301-1000
Call: 703.695.5261
Fax: 703.695.1219
Comment via the Army's web site:
http://www.dtic.mil/armylink/comment.html
http://www.defenselink.mil/faq/comment.html

The Honorable Louis Caldera
Secretary of the Army
101 Army Pentagon
Washington DC 20310-0101
Call: 703.695.3211
Fax: 703.697.8036
Comment via the Army's web site:
http://www.dtic.mil/armylink/comment.html
http://www.defenselink.mil/faq/comment.html

General Eric K. Shinseki
Army Chief of Staff
200 Army Pentagon
Washington DC 20301-0200
Call: 703.695.2077
Fax: 703.693.6290

 


 

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Drop a note to Deborah at gaylesissues@rslevinson.com

copyright 1986-2010 Deborah Levinson