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Danny Chen Bullying Death Suspect Faces Afghanistan Hearing

By DNAinfo Staff on January 15, 2012 3:02pm

Pvt. Danny Chen's mom fixes his shoulder cord in Ft. Benning, GA.
Pvt. Danny Chen's mom fixes his shoulder cord in Ft. Benning, GA.
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Facebook/Justice for Pvt. Danny Chen

By Patrick Hedlund and Tom Liddy

DNAinfo News Editors

MANHATTAN — A soldier is facing a hearing in Afghanistan Sunday in the bullying death of Chinatown soldier Pvt. Danny Chen — one of eight members of the military accused in the case.

The hearing will determine whether Spc. Ryan Offutt will face a court martial on charges of maltreatment, involuntary manslaughter, assault, negligent homicide and reckless endangerment, the military said.

The Article 32 hearing is similar to a grand jury in that both determine whether there is probable cause to believe a crime has been committed.

Chen was found with an apparent self-inflicted gun shot wound in a guard tower near his Afghanistan base on Oct. 3.

Military officials told Chen's family that Chen was was pelted with rocks and made to crawl across gravel just before he died as punishment for not having the proper gear.

Chen had been subjected to racial slurs and physical abuse since deploying to Afghanistan in August 2011.

Advocates also said that Chen's supervisors chose not to document a Sept. 27 incident in which the soldier was dragged out of his bed by a sergeant and dragged over gravel to the shower, leaving him with cuts and bruises.

Offutt, 32, joined the Army in May 2006 and completed a combat tour in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Seven other soldiers face Article 32 hearings, which are set to take place through Feb. 20.