Marine accused of choking girlfriend is acquitted by jury
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — After a three-day special court-martial, Cpl. Tristan R. Williams was acquitted Friday of assault charges stemming from a relationship with a sailor last year.
Williams, 23, with III Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, had been accused of trying to choke his then-girlfriend, Seaman Daevita Dumas, with a belt in June 2006. He also was charged with several other counts of assault from earlier incidents in what both prosecution and defense described as the couple’s “dysfunctional relationship.”
Prosecution and defense both argued the case turned on who was more believable: Dumas or Williams.
During closing arguments, prosecutor Capt. Robert Eckert told the jury to believe Dumas and that the essential facts of the case were corroborated by the “unbiased testimony” of DNA evidence and photographs.
Defense attorney Capt. Jennifer Herrmann told the jury Williams was not lying or trying to protect himself.
He “is brutally honest,” she said. “He’s a bit of a cad, but brutally honest.
“The incident did not happen,” Herrmann said.
The jury deliberated more than three hours before finding Williams not guilty on all counts.
Breathing a sigh of relief, Williams left the courtroom surrounded by friends who had come to wait with him for the verdict.
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Stars and Stripes, A Guam native was one of three Operation Enduring Freedom soldiers who died Monday after insurgents attacked their unit during combat operations in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, the Department of Defense announced in a news release.
Maj. Henry S. Ofeciar, 37, of Agana, died from his wounds at Forward Operating Base Naray, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kan.
The two other soldiers killed in the attack were Pennsylvania Army National Guard soldiers, the release said.
Acting Guam Gov. Mike Cruz ordered all flags lowered to half-staff in honor of Ofeciar, the Pacific Daily News reported Friday.
“He bravely answered the call to service and his legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of a grateful nation,” Cruz said in a statement.
Ofeciar had been assisting the Afghan police and Afghan army on security matters, the Daily News reported.
According to the paper, 24 servicemembers from Micronesia have been killed in the war on terrorism, including 10 this year.