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Danny Chen Bullying Death Sergeant Faces Afghanistan Hearing

By Patrick Hedlund | February 4, 2012 4:59pm
Army Pvt. Danny Chen, 19, of Manhattan, died in Afghanistan on Oct. 3, 2011
Army Pvt. Danny Chen, 19, of Manhattan, died in Afghanistan on Oct. 3, 2011
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U.S. Military

MANHATTAN — A second soldier is set to face a pretrial hearing Monday in Afghanistan in the bullying death of Army Pvt. Danny Chen.

The hearing will determine whether Sgt. Travis Carden, 25, will face a court martial on charges of maltreatment and assault in the Chinatown native’s apparent suicide, 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, 19, was found with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head in a guard tower near his Afghanistan base on Oct. 3.

Military officials informed Chen’s family that the solider suffered a pattern of physical abuse and racial taunting during his deployment, including having rocks thrown at him by fellow soldiers and being the subject of discriminatory insults due to his Chinese heritage.

Army investigators already recommended that Spc. Ryan Offutt face trial on negligent homicide charges, though they declined to pursue manslaughter charges against the 32-year-old.

Carden, a native of Fowler, Ind., is one of eight soldiers charged Chen’s death and one of only three who did not face homicide and manslaughter charges.

Carden joined the Army in January 2007 and was assigned to Chen’s unit in Afghanistan in June 2010, the military said. He also completed a combat tour in Iraq during a six-month deployment there.