Court martial hearing in death of Pvt. Danny Chen begins on Fort Bragg
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FORT BRAGG — The mother of a soldier who authorities say committed suicide while serving in Afghanistan took the stand in a court martial of one of eight men accused in his death.
Private Danny Chen, 19, was found shot to death by a self-inflicted gun shot wound in October of last year while deployed in Afghanistan. Sergeant Adam Holcomb is one of eight soldiers accused of hazing Chen, eventually forcing him to take his own life.
Family, friends, and supporters of Chen came to Fort Bragg for the trial. A spokesperson for the family says they hope to bring home justice.
"They know that their son cannot rest in peace until those that are held accountable are brought to justice," said President OCA New York Chapter Elizabeth OuYang.
In opening statements Tuesday, prosecutors say Pvt. Chen was abused verbally and emotionally in the Army. They say he was hazed and that abuse led him to take his own life.
"When the Army came knocking on her door, she knew right away. But she had thought he had died in combat," said OuYang.
Defense attorneys said Chen had several "deficiencies" as an infantry soldier and several times put his own life and his fellow soldiers lives in danger. While on the witness stand Tuesday, his mother testified that her son very rarely called home after he joined the Army and did not tell her details about his job and relationship with his co-workers.
The family feels they have never known the truth about how their son died.
"The leadership chain of command has failed Private Danny Chen, a strong signal must be sent to those in charge that this cannot be condoned," said OuYang.
Sgt. Holcomb is charged with negligent homicide along with several other charges and could face up to 18 years in prison if convicted.