2nd ex-soldier pleads guilty in Army barracks slaying

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A second former Army soldier has pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from the 2020 killing of a fellow service member found dead from dozens of cuts and slashes in his barracks at a Georgia base.

Jordan Brown, 21, pleaded guilty before a U.S. District Court judge Tuesday in Savannah to charges of assaulting a military service member and intimidating a witness, according to court records. Prosecutors say Brown plotted with a former sergeant to kill Army Spc. Austin Hawk.

According to court records, Brown was serving as an Army specialist at Fort Stewart in 2020 when he came to the former sergeant, Byron Booker, saying that Hawk had ruined his life by reporting Brown to superiors for smoking marijuana. Brown said he feared being kicked out of the Army.

Prosecutors say the two men conspired to retaliate against Hawk, 21.

According to court records, Hawk was alone in his barracks room when Booker got him to open the door after midnight on June 17, 2020. Booker repeatedly slashed and stabbed Hawk with an unspecified sharp weapon. The medical examiner counted 40 wounds, including a fatal gash across Hawk’s throat.

Court documents say Brown was in his own barracks room at the time of the killing.

Brown’s plea agreement calls for him to serve 16 1/2 to 20 years in prison, according to a news release from the office of U.S. Attorney David Estes. He will be sentenced at a later date.

Booker, 29, pleaded guilty in October to a federal charge of murdering a military service member. He faces an automatic sentence of life in prison.

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