Adrian M Perkins
Pine Valley, California
May 17, 2014
Died in Amman, Jordan, from a non-combat related injury.
|From The Army Times armytimes.com 12/09/14:
Defense attorney: Soldier killing was a 'tragic accident'
By Amanda Miller, Staff writer 1:56 p.m. EST December 9, 2014
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — Spc. Jeffery T. Page pulled the trigger of his M4 on May 15 in Jordan, fatally wounding fellow infantryman, Spc. Adrian Perkins (pictured). That fact was not in dispute Monday, as Page's Article 32 investigation began at Fort Carson, Colorado.
Prosecutors allege that Page, a 23-year-old member of the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, chose to murder Perkins, who was viewed as an unpopular member of his unit. A string of mistakes made by Perkins reflected poorly on Page, prosecutors allege.
But Richard Travis, the civilian attorney serving as Page's lead council, said the shooting of 19-year-old Perkins was a "tragic accident" that occurred when Page, using poor judgment, aimed his M4 at Perkins through a small guard shack window and squeezed the trigger, intending to dry fire.
The shooting occurred as Perkins and another member of the squad were delivering lunches to Page and the on-duty guard.
The guard, who was standing inches from Page at the time of the shooting, was one of two soldiers who testified during the Article 32 on Monday. They were the first on a lengthy list of witnesses scheduled to testify over the course of this week.
An Article 32 within the military justice system is much like a civilian grand jury, resulting in a recommendation to the investigation's convening authority on whether the case should go to court-martial.
Under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice, Page is charged with three counts of murder, one count of manslaughter, one count of negligent homicide and one count of dereliction of duty.
'He made mistakes'
The members of Fort Carson's "Warhorse" brigade were deployed to Muwaffaq Salti Air Base to protect a Patriot missile site, where on the morning of May 15, Page and then-Pvt. Kevin Macaskill were guarding the entry control point, according to testimony.
Now-Pfc. Macaskill and the unit's NCO in charge, Staff Sgt. Colin Wyvill, testified on the events of that day and gave their impressions of both the victim and the accused.
Macaskill described Perkins, the victim, as "kind of an oddball" who "would say things to get a reaction out of people" and who also was a "bad soldier."
"He made mistakes. He didn't think things through properly," Macaskill said, describing an instance in which he says Perkins almost rode off in a Humvee, forgetting his weapon on the front of the vehicle.
Wyvill, the NCO, said Perkins had to be retrained during the deployment on how to keep his rifle "pointed in a safe direction" after an incident in which he "flagged" – pointed his gun at – Page, the accused.
The soldiers also testified that Perkins often made inappropriate and intentionally shocking comments about sex. The prosecution focused on this fact to reinforce that Perkins was unliked.
Page, by contrast, was being groomed by Wyvill for promotion, and Pfc. Macaskill described Page as someone he looked up to.
Defense attorneys are criticizing the unit's standard operating procedure for clearing weapons while in Jordan. The procedure normally involves supervision by an NCO as well as red 55-gallon drums sawn in half and made into "clearing barrels."
Travis, Page's civilian attorney, argued that an absence of clearing barrels at the missile site – plus dusty, unused magazines – could have contributed to Page's accidental firing.
The prosecution tried to dismiss this claim, describing Page as a "squared-away soldier" who would know the proper ways to care for his rifle.
"He is a trained and experienced infantryman," said Capt. Kurtis Maciorowski, assistant counsel for the prosecution. "He is knowledgeable in the ways to clear a weapon. He's not a civilian that needs to be told every time the way to clear his weapon."
"You will not see an SOP that says don't point your rifle at another human being you don't intend to kill."
But Travis also provided more evidence that could have contributed to a tragic mistake. He alluded to poor leadership at the platoon level that resulted in overly tired men operating at an excessive state of readiness. Travis also alluded to evidence of command influence in the investigation, after the shooting was initially deemed an accident.
'Man down! Man down!
Macaskill described standing inches from Page that afternoon in the guard shack. He recalled glancing to his left and noticing Page's muzzle pointing out the small opening described as about a 3-inch "aperture." Macaskill didn't think anything of it, looked away for a moment, then heard the shot.
He looked at Page's gun and says he saw "the bolt stuck to the rear with a round jammed in it."
Wyvill heard Page call "Man down! Man down!" over a radio transmission, saying the specialist sounded near panic and that he took responsibility for the shot right away.
More testimony on weapon malfunctions is expected this week. Wyville described the unit's shoddy ammunition storage, where it was not uncommon for magazines to fall off the shelf and lose rounds. These rounds would have to be reinserted, often improperly, Wyville testified.
Offered Monday as evidence of a lax attitude in the unit toward gun safety was a skit video in which one member of the squad wildly brandishes an M9. The video, played during the Article 32, also starred Wyville, Perkins and Page.
Wyvill and Page compete in the "Jordanian National Diving Competition."
Perkins, meanwhile, takes part in an intense chow-line staring contest against a hungry soldier:
"We're out of eggs," Perkins says without cracking a smile. He then uses tongs to place what might have been a single pea on the soldier's plate.
Testimony was to resume at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.
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