No trial timetable set for Navy spouse accused of fatally beating co-worker
Stars and Stripes June 24, 2003
NAPLES, Italy — It could be months before a Navy spouse goes to trial for allegedly beating a co-worker to death. Or it could be several years.
Nothing is for certain in the Italian judicial system.
“It’s a frustrating system to us,” said Ken Reuwer, supervisory special agent for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, who is monitoring the case.
Joshua Louis Bradley, 27, is charged with aggravated voluntary homicide in the death of Paul E. Tralmer.
Tralmer, 35, who had been training Bradley to take over his duties as trekking guide at the Navy Outdoor Recreation Center at Carney Park, died April 16 following an alleged beating at Bradley’s residence, according to the Italian police.
Italian and U.S. legal systems are quite different, said Giovanni Picone, a lawyer representing Tralmer’s wife, Air Force Maj. Marilyn Hodges.
The case is still at the evidence-gathering stage. Every six months, a magistrate decides whether it is ready to proceed to trial. It’s anyone’s guess as to how long it could take.
Reuwer cited a 1996 case in which four sailors died in a car accident; the Italian suspect still hasn’t gone to trial.
The Italian police won’t release its report on the Tralmer case to NCIS until the investigation is finished, said NCIS senior special agent Raymond Vaisa.
The Italian autopsy results also are not complete. A U.S. military doctor, Lt. Col. Kathleen Ingwersen, performed a second autopsy.
“I’m ready to issue a report that is basically going to say I cannot render a final interpretation until I get the information from the first Italian autopsy,” Ingwersen, the Armed Forces regional medical examiner for Europe, said in a phone interview from Germany.
Her interim report will say the Rochester, Minn., native had several blunt force injuries to his head.
Vaisa said he will give the NCIS report to the Italian police this week, including interviews with people who knew both men.
“Hopefully we can get some kind of line of cooperation with [the Italian police],” Vaisa said.
Vaisa and Reuwer said they didn’t know when, or if, the case will go to trial. In the meantime, Bradley will remain in an Italian jail.
On May 7, Bradley was mistakenly freed for about 16 hours. He showed up early the next morning at the NCIS office, a surprise to Reuwer. After making some phone calls, they discovered there had been a paperwork error. Bradley turned himself in.
“He did the right thing,” Reuwer said.
Bradley’s mistaken release is one of several things that have frustrated Tralmer’s widow, an intelligence officer at the Allied Forces Southern NATO base.
While the Navy is paying for Bradley’s defense, she said she must pay Picone to represent her. She said in the Italian system, it’s necessary to have a lawyer representing her side to the magistrate, especially since she’s moving to the States this week and it could be years before the trial begins.
“If they’re going to pay for [Bradley’s lawyer], they should pay for mine,” she said.
“The Navy is not user-friendly.... The Navy wouldn’t pay for me to go home on emergency leave to bury my husband because there had not been a Red Cross message sent. Why would I send a Red Cross message to myself?”
She has also hired a private investigator to look into the past of Bradley, a native of Tillamook, Ore.
Nearly 200 people have stepped forward as character witnesses for Tralmer. “It’s amazing, the outpouring,” Hodges said.
She and several friends are prepared to return to Italy for the trial, whenever it may be.
Bradley’s lawyer, Orazio Cicatelli, said he could not comment on the case. Bradley’s wife, Jennifer, a sailor at Capodichino, could not be reached for comment.