GIs fuzzy on details in Lamebear death
HANAU, Germany — Binge drinking at a series of bars and hazy memories. Drugs. A couple of run-ins, including a stolen knife.
But no testimony Friday linked directly two 1st Armored Division soldiers to the November slaying of fellow 1st AD soldier Pfc. Clint C. Lamebear. Lamebear, of Company A, 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment in Friedberg, Germany, was found bludgeoned to death in the Sachsenhausen pub district of Frankfurt.
Pfc. Jonathon Schroeder, 20, and Pfc. Andrew Humiston, 20, are the subjects of a joint hearing at Hanau, charged with robbing and murdering Lamebear. Schroeder and Humiston were assigned to Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 1-36th at Ray Barracks in Friedberg.
In an unusual arrangement, Maj. John Jones is the hearing officer for Schroeder, and Maj. Steve Patoir is the hearing officer for Humiston. Attorneys representing the government, led by Capt. Troy Stabenow, also are participating.
In testimony Friday morning, three 1-36 soldiers — Pfc. Douglas Bishop, Pvt. William Thomas Brewer and Pvt. Dale Cater — testified they were with Humiston and Schroeder much of the night. But none directly connected the pair to Lamebear’s death.
Stabenow, Jones and Patoir asked repeatedly if Schroeder’s and Humiston’s moods were angry, aggressive or nervous on or after the night Lamebear was killed.
They also asked if Schroeder’s and Humiston’s hands were bruised or their clothes torn — indications they might have been in a physical confrontation. The answers to all were no — with one exception.
At about 5 a.m. in the Imperial strip club, Brewer said, Schroeder was rubbing his hand.
“He said, ‘This is going to hurt in the morning.’ I assumed he’d punched the wall or something,” Brewer said.
But under cross-examination, Brewer backed off his contention that Schroeder was rubbing his hand.
Just how much the witnesses were able to recall became a heated point of contention when Stabenow asked Brewer to review the first statements Brewer gave to Criminal Investigation Command agents.
Schroeder’s attorney, Capt. Dean Lynch, strongly objected, calling the proceeding “a sham” at one point. Lynch argued that the day’s testimony should stand on its own merits and that because government attorneys didn’t like what they were hearing, they were trying “to guide Brewer to the testimony they want.”
Jones allowed Stabenow to continue his line of questioning, telling Lynch that he was welcome to try to impeach the testimony in cross-examination.
During periods of wide-ranging, rather wandering questioning, Bishop and Brewer described an evening of partying with changing casts, with periods when they didn’t see Schroeder and Humiston for up to 45 minutes.
Bishop, celebrating his 21st birthday, joined a group including Brewer and Humiston at Kalamy’s bar at 11 p.m., staying with them until about midnight.
Of the three soldiers testifying, only Brewer testified that he was, for the most part, sober. But even he said he only had “a fair recollection” of the night’s events.
Brewer, who shared a cab with Schroeder and Humiston from Ray Barracks to Sachsenhausen, told the hearing that the three soldiers had felt the driver overcharged them. Schroeder, he said, was angry and retaliated by stealing a Swiss Army-style knife from the driver.
Later in the evening, Brewer said, Schroeder accused an unidentified woman of stealing his jacket, but the two parted amicably.
Cater apparently was the last person to see Lamebear alive. But his testimony was brief after he acknowledged using drugs the night Lamebear died.
After discussions in chambers, Jones told Cater that he could be prosecuted for an admission that he’d taken drugs the night Lamebear died, he said, “yes sir.” When asked if drugs had affected his ability to recall events of Nov. 16 and 17, he said, “No, sir.” But his testimony ended at that point.
Schroeder and Humiston’s hearing is scheduled to resume Tuesday at the Cambrai-Frisch Caserne courthouse in Darmstadt.