Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘Lucas Trent Vinson’

Beyshee Velez admits guilt in slaying of Lucas Trent Vinson

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on April 15, 2011

Schofield soldier admits guilt in slaying of contractor in Iraq

The veteran and medic, who also assaulted three other workers, will serve a 26-year term

Garciapagan said Velez started acting strangely several days before the shooting, thinking there were wanted posters with his face and name around the base.

by William Cole at the Star Advertiser

A Schofield Barracks soldier pleaded guilty this week in military court to murdering a civilian contractor in Iraq and was sentenced to 26 years in prison, officials said yesterday.

Spc. Beyshee O. Velez, 32, a medic and three-time Iraq war veteran, was days away from leaving the country when he shot contractor Lucas “Trent” Vinson on Sept. 13, 2009, at Contingency Operating Base Speicher in northern Iraq.

Vinson, 27, worked for the Houston-based company KBR at COB Speicher with his father, Myron “Bugsy” Vinson, and an uncle. KBR provided troops with services such as housing, meals, mail delivery and laundry.

As part of a plea deal, Velez, of Cleveland, was found guilty of the murder of Vinson “by recklessly pointing his loaded M-4 carbine at Mr. Vinson, who died when the weapon discharged,” the 25th Infantry Division said.

The agreement required a sentence not in excess of 28 years in prison, officials said.

Velez, who was with the 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, also was found guilty of assaulting three other contractors by pointing a loaded weapon at them, and of fleeing apprehension by authorities, the Army said.

Officials said the shooting occurred in a sport utility vehicle on base. Witnesses at a previous hearing testified that Velez then forced a driver out of a 15-passenger van that belonged to KBR and drove erratically at high speed around the sprawling base before getting stuck in a ditch.

The presiding military judge, Lt. Col. Kwasi L. Hawks, also sentenced Velez to a reduction to the lowest enlisted grade, total forfeitures of pay and a dishonorable discharge, the Army said in a news release.

The Army said Velez is confined at the Naval Brig at Ford Island but will be turned over to the Army Corrections Command. A trial was held Tuesday and Wednesday at Wheeler Army Airfield, with sentencing Wednesday, the Army said.

Velez’s civilian attorney, Philip D. Cave, said in February 2010 that an Army mental fitness board found the soldier likely experienced a “short psychotic episode.”

However, an Army mental health board found Velez fit to stand trial, officials previously said.

The shooting occurred at about 8:30 a.m., and a standoff with Velez lasted until about 8 p.m. as he blared the radio, chain-smoked cigarettes and put his M-4 rifle to his head in the van, witnesses and Army officials said.

Col. Thomas Wheatley, a chaplain who was at the scene, had said his gut feeling was that Velez was going to kill himself.

“He said, ‘I’m a medic, I know how to do it,'” Wheatley had testified.

A friend of Velez, Spc. Leo­nel Gar­cia­pa­gan, talked to Velez and was finally able to remove the soldier’s rifle. Gar­cia­pa­gan testified in February that Velez was confused and was not aware of the shooting.

“He wasn’t aware of nothing,” Gar­cia­pa­gan said. “When he talked to me, I figured out his mind wasn’t right.”

Garciapagan said Velez started acting strangely several days before the shooting, thinking there were wanted posters with his face and name around the base.

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Iraq, Melt Down, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Schofield soldier, Spc. Beyshee O. Velez, pleads not guilty to murder in Iraq

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on April 26, 2010

by William Cole at the Honolulu Advertiser

A Schofield Barracks soldier this morning pleaded not guilty in military court to charges that he murdered a civilian contractor on a U.S. military base in northern Iraq.

Spc. Beyshee O. Velez, 32, a medic and three-time Iraq war veteran, is accused of fatally shooting contractor Lucas “Trent” Vinson at Contingency Operating Base Speicher on Sept. 13, 2009.

An Army mental fitness board previously found that Velez had experienced a “short psychotic episode,” but the board also determined that the soldier was fit to stand trial, according to Velez’ civilian attorney, Philip D. Cave.

On March 11, the commander of the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks referred charges against Velez including two counts of murder, three counts of assault, and one count of fleeing apprehension, officials said.

Cave said the government has provided initial funding for the defense for a ballistics and crime scene expert, forensic pathologist and forensic psychologist to evaluate the case.

A military judge presiding over the case this morning at Wheeler Army Airfield said he wanted to know by July 13 whether Velez would be seeking a trial by a judge or jury. A date of Oct. 12 was set as the “likely” trial date.

Reach William Cole at wcole@honoluluadvertiser.com.

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Exclusive Remedy, Melt Down, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Danny Fitzsimons, Darren Hoare and Paul McGuigan, Beyshee Velez and Lucas Trent Vinson

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on March 19, 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We post regular updates here about Danny Fitzsimons and the deaths of Darren Hoare and Paul McGuigan.

We’d like the family members of those involved in this tragedy to understand that our deepest sympathies over your losses are with you.  We are not attempting to paint a picture of innocence or guilt.

We do however feel it is important to continue hammering out the fact that these tragedies were preventable.

Only one month after the deaths of Darren and Paul, Spec Beyshee Velez, at the end of his third deployment in the war zone,  shot and killed Lucas Trent Vinson, a Civilian Contractor, while in a suspected psychotic episode.

Neither the military nor the Contractor Companies have fully acknowledged the dangers of  PTSD and other mental conditions caused by war zone stress.  The murders of these contractors make it clear that the dangers run well beyond the tortured mind of the beholder.

Nor do they accept responsiblity for their negligence in failing to prevent these deaths.

Boots on the ground, warm bodies with guns they can bill for, win out over the value of human life.

The Defense Base Act’s Exclusive Remedy enables this negligence for the contract company.

Posted in Contractor Casualties and Missing, Exclusive Remedy, Melt Down, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Spc. Beyshee O. Velez hearing set in shooting death of Lucas Trent Vinson

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 11, 2010

Soldier accused in killing to have hearing Tuesday

Spc. Beyshee Velez—assigned to the 3rd Bronco Brigade Combat Team’s Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery—is accused of shooting Lucas “Trent” Vinson with an M-4 carbine on Sept. 13.

He was on his third Iraqi combat deployment.

Army hearing set in Iraq shooting death

What we have yet to hear about is what caused the melt down of Beyshee Velez

A hearing will be held Tuesday for a 31-year-old Schofield Barracks soldier charged with the shooting death of a civilian contractor Sept. 13 on an American base in Iraq.

Spc. Beyshee O. Velez was charged with two counts of murder under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, three counts of assault and one count of fleeing apprehension. Although he is charged with two “specifications” of murder, the Army said Velez can only be convicted of one of the counts.

Velez is accused of shooting to death Lucas “Trent” Vinson, 27, a contractor who worked for Houston-based KBR at a base in the city of Tikrit. Vinson worked there with his father, Myron “Bugsy” Vinson, and an uncle.

KBR is a support contractor that provides troops with essential services, including housing, meals, mail delivery and laundry.

The Article 32 hearing, similar to a civilian grand jury, is scheduled to begin Tuesday at Schofield Barracks and is expected to last several days, the Army said.

The Army did not provide details of the incident, but Vinson’s family told The Associated Press that Vinson was shot three times after offering a ride to an American soldier who flagged down Vinson’s vehicle on the base. No other information was provided.

A murder conviction carries a maximum sentence of life behind bars and a dishonorable discharge. The maximum penalty for a conviction of assault with a deadly weapon is eight years confinement and a dishonorable discharge.

Velez, assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, is in pre-trial confinement at Ford Island, the Army said.

The investigating officer in the case will forward a recommendation to the 25th Infantry Division commanding general, who will determine what, if any, charges will be referred to a court martial.

Posted in Contractor Casualties and Missing, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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