Soldier accused of assaulting whistleblower faces hearing

The (Tacoma) News TribuneOctober 21, 2010 

A Stryker soldier who allegedly helped beat up a private during their deployment in southern Afghanistan will appear before an Army investigating officer today at Joint Base Lewis-McChord for a hearing that will help determine whether he will be court-martialed.

Staff Sgt. David Bram, 27, of Vacaville, Calif., faces charges that he joined an assault on Pfc. Justin Stoner that was intended to keep Stoner from speaking to superior officers about drug use at Forward Operating Base Ramrod.

Bram is among a dozen soldiers in the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division who stand accused of various crimes during their deployment earlier this year. Five of the soldiers are awaiting trial on charges that they killed Afghan civilians.

Stoner led Army investigators to the unit when he drew attention to soldiers allegedly smoking hashish in a room he shared with another soldier.

Two days later, word got back to others that Stoner had blown the whistle about drug use. That’s when six soldiers allegedly assaulted him in the room.

In a sworn statement to Army investigators, Stoner said Bram started the assault by pinning him against a wall by his neck. Stoner said other soldiers then punched and kicked him below his neck where bruises wouldn’t readily show.

“They intentionally made it so that there were no visual signs …,” Stoner said. “Before leaving the room, somebody made a threat that if I said something, they would just kill me out on a mission.”

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