DARMSTADT, Germany — An Army specialist who threw a single blow that later led to the death of a fellow soldier was sentenced Thursday to 30 months in a military jail.

Spc. Ivan Caicedo, 25, a generator mechanic with Battery E, 5th Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery, will serve only 12 months of the 30-month sentence because of a pretrial agreement.

Caicedo pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and breach of peace charges linked to the death of Sgt. Tony L. Bailey, a military police dog handler, during a court-martial hearing on Cambrai-Fritsch Casern.

The military judge, Col. Stephen R. Henley, also reduced Caicedo to the lowest enlisted rank, ordered forfeiture of all pay and allowances and sentenced him to a bad-conduct discharge.

Caicedo, who never met Bailey before the altercation, told the courtroom he walked up on Bailey having an argument with a female soldier early May 31 outside of the club Kuckucksnest in Darmstadt. He said he tried to stop the argument, fearing for the woman, but then ended up punching Bailey in the face after comments he made about his mother.

Prosecutors said Caicedo just wanted to pick a fight that night and chose Bailey, a highly recognized dog handler, because Bailey was drunk, with a blood alcohol level of .227.

Caicedo told the courtroom that he accepts full responsibility for the death and has forever been changed by the incident.

According to testimony, Bailey was knocked unconscious by the single blow to the face and hit the back of his head on concrete. He was taken to a German hospital, where he later had a piece of his skull removed to allow room for the swelling of his brain.

Because Bailey remained immobile for about three weeks before the operation, he developed blood clots in his legs that traveled to his lungs and blocked an air passageway.

Bailey died June 22, only two days after surgery and after family and friends thought he would soon be better.

Bailey was the youngest of eight children from a rural West Virginia town. Two of his brothers, Ellis, the eldest, and Homer, the second youngest, testified that their entire family has felt the impact of the death; they cited physical and mental problems in the family brought on by the death.

Caicedo apologized to the family and offered whatever he could give to the family to make amends.

“I didn’t have any clue it was possible for this to happen at the time,” Caicedo said to the brothers from the witness stand. “I’m only human. We all make mistakes. I can only ask for forgiveness, for the family to forgive. I can offer only what I can do.”

After the sentence was read, the Bailey brothers shook Caicedo’s hand, with one of the brothers first asking if he truly meant the apology and then offering forgiveness.

Caicedo’s sister, Christina, 24, of Miami, also attended the trial, along with her father and another sister.

She testified how remorseful and changed her brother has been since the incident. She said it felt as if she lost her brother, too.

Capt. Will M. Helvison, a defense lawyer, then read a poem written by Caicedo after Bailey’s death. In it, Caicedo speaks of guilt, remorse, nightmares of people coming to kill him and even suicidal thoughts. He ended it with hoping for a miracle and a new chance at life.

“This is truly a tragic case where no one wins and everyone loses,” said another defense lawyer, Capt. James Levine, in a final argument to the judge.

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