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Sgt. Joseph Bozicevich, Minnesota soldier, could face death penalty

Sgt Joseph Bozicevich was born in Eagan, graduated from Cretin-Derham Hall attended the U of M for a while before becomming a soldier.
Sgt Joseph Bozicevich was born in Eagan, graduated from Cretin-Derham Hall attended the U of M for a while before becomming a soldier.

U.S. Army Sgt. Joseph Bozicevich grew up in Eagan, graduated from Cretin Derham Hall, and went off to the University of Minnesota before signing up to serve his country in uniform.

He was shipped off to Iraq not once, but twice. And on that second tour of duty, in 2008, something in him snapped.

The Army says the 3rd Infantry Division 41-year-old sprayed his squad leader, Staff Sgt. Darris Dawson and Sgt. Wesley Durbin, with a curtain of bullets at their patrol base.

Both men died.

Now Bozicevich faces court-martial and the possibility of the death penalty. The proceedings start today at Fort Stewart in Georgia.

A soldier who witnessed the bloody event, Maj. Andy McKee, said that the dead soldiers had criticized Bozicevich for his battlefield behavior. But Bozicevich's lawyer, Charles Gittins, is arguing that his client opened fire to protect himself.

Bozicevich is pleading not guilty to the charges, and his step-mother told AP that she doesn't think he ought to be put to death.

"I just feel in my heart something snapped in that man. I don't know what those young men go through over there."

The trauma those soldiers experience on the battlefield has led to a skyrocketing number of suicides. It's also led some to crime when they come home, as we detailed in our Sept. 1, 2010 cover story.


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