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Judge delays AFN murder suspect’s hearing

Petty Officer 2nd Class Dmitry Chepusov, a military broadcaster, was found strangled to death in the passenger seat of a car during a traffic stop in December 2013. Two American servicemembers have been charged in connection with his death.

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — A hearing to determine whether Air Force Staff Sgt. Sean Oliver will face court-martial for the murder of Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dmitry Chepusov has been postponed.

A military judge on Friday granted a defense request to delay Oliver’s Article 32 hearing, similar to a civilian grand jury proceeding, a spokesman for the 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein Air Base said in an email Wednesday. The hearing, which was set to start this past Monday, has been tentatively rescheduled for July 18.

Details about why the judge granted the delay “are not publicly releasable,” the spokesman said.

Oliver is charged with premeditated murder and other offenses for the Dec. 14 death of Chepusov, a broadcaster for the American Forces Network. Oliver and Army Spc. Cody Kramer, who is also charged in connection with Chepusov’s murder, were both AFN technicians.

German police found Chepusov lifeless in the passenger seat after pulling Oliver over for driving erratically in downtown Kaiserslautern in the early hours of Dec. 14. Preliminary results of an autopsy by German authorities concluded that Chepusov died of “force to the neck.”

millham.matthew@stripes.com

Twitter: @mattmillham

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