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A U.S. Army Alaska soldier was convicted at a court-martial Thursday of involuntary manslaughter in the accidental shooting death of a fellow soldier.

During court-martial proceedings at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Spc. Marshall Drake Jr., 23, was sentenced to 11 years and 9 months’ confinement, dishonorable discharge, reduction in rank to private, and ordered to forfeit of all pay and allowances, according to a U.S. Army Alaska statement released Thursday. A day earlier, Drake pleaded guilty to failure to obey general regulations for not registering a firearm and storing it in his barracks room.

Drake was charged in the 2012 shooting death of Pfc. Grant Wise, 25.

Wise was found on Drake’s bed Christmas morning with a bullet wound to the head. An unregistered .45-caliber Kimber 1911 Custom II handgun was found next to his body. Testimony offered during the court martial indicated that Drake shot Wise accidentally after a night of drinking.

According to court testimony, Drake had pulled the pistol from his barracks room desk to show Wise and a third soldier, the statement said. Drake removed the magazine and ejected a round from the chamber but couldn’t find it. Drake handed the gun to Wise who dry fired the weapon and then to Pvt. David Hubbard who also dry fired it. Hubbard testified that they were laughing, joking, and making sarcastic remarks when Drake turned, and began talking in a “tough guy” voice. He pointed the pistol at Wise’s face and pulled the trigger.

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Matthew M. Burke has been reporting from Okinawa for Stars and Stripes since 2014. The Massachusetts native and UMass Amherst alumnus previously covered Sasebo Naval Base and Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, for the newspaper. His work has also appeared in the Boston Globe, Cape Cod Times and other publications.
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