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European edition, Thursday, May 3, 2007

WIESBADEN, Germany — Spc. Tyrone Talbot was found not guilty Tuesday of murdering his wife, Chevonne Talbot, whom he found bound, gagged and lifeless in the couple’s bathroom in October 2004.

But because he lied to an investigator looking into the murder, Talbot was found guilty of making a false official statement.

For that, he was reduced to the rank of private first class and will receive a written reprimand.

In an unsworn statement delivered during the sentencing phase of his court-martial at Wiesbaden Army Airfield, Talbot said his lie led investigators away from the real killer and caused them to focus on him instead.

The lie, and its consequences, also desecrated the memory of his late wife and embarrassed his family, he said. “I beg forgiveness for this act.”

Capt. Brian Rush, who led the government’s case against Talbot, told the panel there was no worse time to make a false statement to investigators than during a murder investigation.

Talbot faced a maximum of five years in prison, reduction in rank to private, a dishonorable discharge and forfeiture of all pay and allowances for the false statement charge.

In trying to steer the panel away from the maximum sentence, Capt. Andres Vazquez, one of Talbot’s two government-appointed defense attorneys, told the panel that after the death of Chevonne Talbot and getting tried for her murder, Tyrone Talbot had already been punished enough.

Vazquez admitted the defendant was “somewhat responsible” for bringing a cloud of suspicion on himself, but said he made the false statement because he was embarrassed about his attempted suicide the day his wife died.

Talbot told the special agent in charge of the investigation, Christopher Moon, that he had arrived at Wiesbaden Army Airfield at about 8:45 a.m. on Oct. 12, 2004, the day his wife was killed.

Investigators later found out he arrived on base at 11:38 a.m. At least one forensic pathologist who testified in the case said it’s possible she had been killed between 10 and 11 a.m. There was another suspect early on in the investigation, Detrick Morton, with whom it is believed Chevonne Talbot was having an affair.

Though he was not initially forthcoming about his relationship with her, he confessed their affair during two 10-to-12-hour-long interviews with the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command.

After that, and verifying Morton’s whereabouts, CID no longer considered Morton a suspect, Moon testified.

The investigation into the death “remains open and ongoing,” Christopher Grey, a CID spokesman at Fort Belvoir, Va., wrote to Stars and Stripes.

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