Osan airman discharged for stealing underwear
OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — An airman who pleaded guilty to stealing a female servicemember’s underwear was sentenced Friday by a military jury to a bad-conduct discharge.
Senior Airman Timothy M. Beckling, 25, of the 51st Logistics Readiness Squadron, also was sentenced to three months in jail, demotion to E-1 and loss of three months’ pay at $795 per month.
The sentencing ended a two-day trial in which the Air Force prosecuted Beckling under its rules for special courts-martial.
Air Force Col. David Brash, chief military judge for the Pacific Trial Judiciary, from Yokota Air Base, Japan, served as military judge.
Beckling pleaded guilty Thursday to entering a female servicemember’s room Jan. 29 and stealing about 15 pairs of her underwear while she and a roommate slept.
He also admitted entering a second female airman’s room Aug. 22.
But he had denied two other charges Thursday of entering females’ rooms Jan. 27 and Nov. 1.
On Friday, the jury — a lieutenant colonel and two captains — found Beckling guilty in the Nov. 1 incident.
It found him not guilty in the Jan. 27 episode. Beckling chose to be tried by a jury of officers rather than by military judge alone.
Prosecutors said Beckling had entered the women’s rooms for “a sense of thrill … excitement … hoping to see a naked woman.”
The women lived in Beckling’s dormitory and were in his squadron.
After the verdict, Beckling’s lawyer, Capt. William F. Buckley, Osan Area Defense Counsel, asked the jury to be lenient in deciding a sentence and requested they let Beckling stay in the Air Force.
“This case is about an immature person who did immature things … stupid things,” Buckley said. But he said Beckling had performed well in his Air Force duties and deserved another chance.
Earlier, Beckling was allowed to make a pre-sentencing statement to the jury.
“I take full responsibility … I am extremely ashamed … ” Beckling said.
Beckling told jurors his father, a Methodist minister, was “military” and he’d grown up in military communities.
He said he’d joined the Air Force in February 2002 “to make my father proud of me,” and that, “more than anything in the world, I want to stay in the Air Force.”
But the prosecution urged the jury to oust Beckling from the Air Force.
“A slap on the wrist is not going to be appropriate here,” said Capt. Christopher May of Yokota’s Pacific Trial Circuit. “This … breaking into women’s rooms and stealing, this is serious business … a dangerous mindset.
“No one should have to look up to this individual. He has not earned respect in our Air Force. There is just no place for this individual in our Air Force … It’s a message to the world that we don’t condone his actions … You’re an airman 24 hours a day.”
After the trial, Beckling was transported to the Army Confinement Facility at Camp Humphreys, Air Force officials said.