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BAUMHOLDER, Germany — Pvt. Stephen A. Blazofsky is the second Baumholder-based soldier to be convicted in the past week for crimes where substance abuse was a contributing factor.

Blazofsky, of the 47th Forward Support Battalion, 1st Armored Division, pleaded guilty Monday to assaulting Ursula Cöster, a 62-year-old woman, on May 28, 2005, at her home in Baumholder. He also pleaded guilty to assaulting military police in a separate incident at his barracks in October 2005.

“When he’s not drinking, he’s squared away,” said Master Sgt. Vernon Price, Blazofsky’s former squad leader during the sentencing phase of his court-martial at H.D. Smith Barracks on Monday. But the two drunken rages resulted in a 3½-year prison sentence and the end of his Army career.

During the judge’s guilty plea examination, Blazofsky described attacking Cöster while in a stupor after downing a potent mix including absinthe, a high- proof liquor illegal in many countries. Before the attack, he was angry with himself for paying 500 euros for a bottle of champagne at the behest of a stripper at a local club. Furious that he’d spent all his money, he ended up at Cöster’s door.

Blazofsky didn’t explain why, saying he has no clear recollection of the incident. Pushing his way in, he punched Cöster in the face, then pushed the slight woman against the wall, according to both Blazofsky and Cöster.

As he choked her, the woman was able to wrench herself away, and Blazofsky fled, waking up later at the base military police station after being arrested by German police, he said. There, Blazofsky said, he was told “I beat up an old lady.”

Blazofsky admitted to the military judge, Col. James Pohl, that he could have hurt the woman severely, even killed her. “Any idea why you did this?” Pohl said. “No, sir,” Blazofsky replied.

Blazofsky also pleaded guilty to assaulting two military police who tried to break up a disturbance that started after his girlfriend broke up with him over the phone on Oct. 17, 2005.

Blazofsky’s mother, Shelia Blazofsky, described raising her son as a single mother near Detroit, living “below the poverty line” in a “war zone.” After she lost her job last year, she said she depends on her son, with him sending her money. The Army, she said, was her son’s way out.

In her closing argument, Capt. Alison Gregoire, the prosecutor, said Blazofsky has an anger problem.

“Private Blazofsky was mad [on May 17] and somebody was going to pay. Unfortunately, it was Mrs. Cöster,” Gregoire said, asking for a six-year sentence.

Alcohol and anger turned her client from a “meek, mild, quiet guy” into someone out of control during the only two times he was drunk, countered Capt. Jacqueline Tubbs, Blazofsky’s attorney. Blazofsky needs treatment and a second chance, Tubbs said.

However, Pohl sentenced him to 42 months, a reduction in rank to E-1 and a bad-conduct discharge. Blazofsky could have gotten a maximum sentence of 10 years.

Under the plea agreement, prosecution amended an attempted-murder charge to aggravated assault, dropping housebreaking and destruction of property charges in the Cöster attack, as well as escaping custody charges from MPs in the October incident.

In an unrelated case, Pfc. Zachary Watson received a 15-year sentence last week for dealing and using drugs, and for burning a section of Baumholder’s city government building while drunk.


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