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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — The Air Force is holding an investigative hearing this week at Kadena Air Base to determine whether a staff sergeant will stand trial for the January death of a fellow airman, according to the 18th Wing public affairs office.

Staff Sgt. Nicholas Cron, a member of the 733rd Air Mobility Squadron, faces charges of premeditated murder, conspiracy to commit murder and obstruction of justice, the Air Force said. He has been in pretrial confinement since February, about one week after Tech. Sgt. Curtis Eccleston was found dead in his Chatan apartment. Investigators said the man’s neck and throat had been slashed, and Japanese police recovered knives possibly used in the attack from a river outside Naha, acting on tips given to Air Force officials by Cron.

The court proceeding, known as an Article 32 hearing, is expected to last through the week. Following the hearing, an Air Force official will determine whether there is enough evidence against Cron to send the case to court-martial.

The victim’s wife, Barbara Keiko Eccleston, 32, has been charged by Japanese prosecutors in the case and is now awaiting trial in Japanese court. No date has been set.


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