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Airman Calvin Hill is removed Wednesday from the courtroom at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C., during a pause in his court-martial. Hill is facing capital murder charges in the death of 20-year-old Airman 1st Class Ashley Turner.

Airman Calvin Hill is removed Wednesday from the courtroom at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C., during a pause in his court-martial. Hill is facing capital murder charges in the death of 20-year-old Airman 1st Class Ashley Turner. (Lisa Burgess / S&S)

ARLINGTON, Va. — The general court-martial of an airman accused of murdering a fellow airman opened Wednesday at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C., with the defense and prosecution teams spending the morning huddled behind closed doors dealing with procedural issues.

Airman Calvin Hill from the 56th Rescue Squadron at Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland, is facing capital murder charges in the death of 20-year-old Airman 1st Class Ashley Turner, who also was from the 56th.

Hill stands accused of murdering Turner Aug. 14, 2005, to prevent her from testifying against Hill in his court-martial on charges that he stole about $2,800 from her by using her bank card.

She was found face down in a pool of blood in a dorm she shared with Hill. Turner was later found to have died from head trauma and a stab wound to the neck.

Hill was taken into custody that same day Turner died, transferred first to Mannheim in Germany and later held at Quantico Marine Corps Base in Virginia.

Hill faces five charges, the most serious of which is premeditated murder. That charge carries the death penalty or life in prison if the accused is found guilty, according to Article 118 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

The other charges are being absent without leave, making a false official statement, larceny and wrongful appropriation, and obstructing justice.

Hill’s Article 32 hearing in Keflavik — the equivalent of a grand jury investigation — revealed a complicated case.

With no witnesses to the murder and no murder weapon apparently discovered, both sides will attempt to build their cases from the ground up, basing their arguments on evidence as tiny as a single drop of blood.

The blood showed up on the lace of one of Hill’s tennis shoes, which had been confiscated from his dorm room during a search by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, investigators said during the Article 32 hearing.

Hill’s defense team said he had an alibi that night: Hill had spent time with his Icelanic girlfriend watching the movie “Top Gun,” leaving the room twice and only briefly, once to do laundry.

The Navy investigated the crime because it was committed on a Navy installation, although the Air Force Office of Special Investigation “has also been involved with this case from the beginning by providing support to the lead agency,” NCIS, according to Air Force spokesman Capt. David Small.

The Air Force is responsible for conducting the court-martial because Hill is an airman, Small said.

The case was moved to Bolling because Keflavik is scheduled for closure later this year, Small said.

Hill’s trial had been scheduled to begin Tuesday, but on Monday, the Judge Advocate General’s office announced a 24-hour delay.

As of Wednesday at noon, the open session of the case still had not started.

Turner’s mother, Lisa Turner, and two friends spent Wednesday morning in the Bolling courtroom, waiting.

“This is going to be difficult,” Turner, of Frederick, Md., told Stars and Stripes, but she said she was glad the court-martial process had started at last.


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