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Hearing set in soldier shooting
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Staff Sgt. Darris Dawson and Sgt. Wesley R. Durbin - photo by Photo provided.
A hearing date has been set for a Fort Stewart soldier accused of killing two other soldiers in Iraq last fall, but one of the victim’s stepmother expects little relief from it.
On Monday, Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson said the Article 32 hearing date has been set for Sgt. Joseph Bozicevich, 39. The hearing is similar to a grand jury deciding whether an indictment is warranted in a case
According to Larson, the court martial date has been set for April 14.
“This is the next step in the military justice process,” Larson said. “And the military justice process will move forward from there.”
Bozicevich, originally from Minneapolis, Minn., was charged in October with the slayings of Staff Sgt. Darris Dawson, 24, of Pensacola, Fla., and Sgt. Wesley R. Durbin, 26, of Dallas, Texas.
He is accused of shooting both men with a rifle on Sept. 14.
Dawson’s stepmother Maxine Mathis, said she is grateful the trial has being set. However, she said the trial won’t lessen her and her husband’s grief for their dead son.
“Nothing they could do to him can relieve me or my husband’s pain in our hearts.” Mathis said. “I can think of nothing good that would come out of it other than it will finally be over.”
Mathis, who raised Dawson since he was 16, said she feels sorry for Bozicevich and his parents.
“I don’t wish that young man to have a death-sentence; I don’t wish that he spend the rest of his life in prison,” she said. “I only wish that I and my husband can talk with him. I want to know from him ‘why,’ and what went wrong?”
She said she also hopes the trial will allow people to know Dawson for who he really was.
“Although he did not get killed by the enemy, he still gave his life for his country,” she said. “Our son left a great legacy for his kids, he left something they can remember him for.”
Bozicevich, Dawson and Durbin were assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division’s 3-7 Infantry Battalion of the 4th Brigade Combat Team.
All three soldiers were with the battalion’s Alpha Company, serving a 15-month deployment at a patrol base in Jurf As Sakr in Iraq.
Bozicevich and Durbin were both four-man team leaders who reported to Dawson, their team’s squad leader.
According to reports, it was Bozicevich’s second combat deployment since being on active duty for three years.
Prior to his active duty status, Bozicevich had served 15 years in the Army Reserves in Minnesota.
Since charges were filed against Bozicevich, he has been held in pretrial confinement at an undisclosed location in South Georgia.
Attempts to contact Bozicevich’s civilian defense lawyer, Charles Gittins, for comment were unsuccessful.
Gittins’ voicemail said he was out of the country and unable to be reached by phone. E-mails sent to Gittins were returned with an out-of-the-office reply.
On Nov. 14, 2008, Gittins was quoted in the Coastal Courier as saying people should be careful not to rush to a conclusion about his client’s guilt.
“My client intends to defend himself vigorously through his military and civilian counsel in these proceedings and we believe no one should make any judgments about the case until all the facts have been established,” the article said.
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