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Pacific edition, Friday, August 31, 2007

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — A Camp Hansen Marine pleaded not guilty to charges of assault, destruction of government and personal property and making a false statement at a special court-martial Wednesday.

Cpl. Tristan R. Williams, 23, with Headquarters Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force is accused of attempting to choke his girlfriend, Seaman Daevita Dumas, during a June 25, 2006, dispute that also damaged his barracks room.

Prosecutor Capt. Robert Eckert said the “case is about a dysfunctional relationship” that Dumas, who was 18 at the time, “didn’t know how to get out of.”

Defense attorney Capt. Jennifer Herrmann offered a different explanation, saying, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

Dumas testified the two met in January 2006 and that the relationship “was good for the month and a half” before things got ugly. She talked about their jealousy that led to fights.

By June 2006, they “had broken up, but we were still messing around with each other,” she said. She then described a June 23, 2006, incident in which she said Williams pushed her, and she fell into a fan, cutting her back.

But June 25, 2006, “was the worst night of all our fights,” she said.

Both had been drinking when they started fighting, knocking the contents of William’s room into walls or to the floor, Dumas said.

“He got a belt and came up (behind me), and the belt went around my neck,” she said.

Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents testified the walls of Williams’ room bore knocks, dings and plaster-repaired holes. Agents also testified about photographs taken days later, showing scabbing and skin missing on Dumas’ neck.

DNA-analysis expert Sara Green, a forensic biologist with the Army, also reported that a web belt taken from Williams’ room contained Williams’ and Dumas’ DNA but that there was more of Dumas’ DNA on the belt than Williams’.

The prosecution rested Wednesday evening, and the defense was scheduled to begin its case Thursday morning.


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