Soldier could face charges in retiree’s death
Stars and Stripes March 25, 2008
HEIDELBERG, Germany — A soldier is facing possible manslaughter charges after a dispute outside Patrick Henry Village’s bowling center last weekend left a retired soldier dead, authorities said Monday.
Donald Jones, 55, died Sunday at University Hospital in Heidelberg after, authorities said, being punched and falling to the pavement on the bowling center’s patio early Saturday. Jones was identified by Heidelberg garrison officials.
Jones, who lived in St. Leon Rot, had been a regular Friday night dominoes player, said a center employee who declined to be identified, and had not previously been involved in altercations.
The soldier, identified by the Heidelberg garrison’s provost marshal office as Spc. Douglas Reeves, 22, was there to bowl, the employee said. Reeves was assigned to Company B, AFNORTH.
“We have no idea what started it,” the employee said. “It was basically one punch. They both had been drinking.”
It appeared that Jones hit his head either on a table or the concrete, the employee said.
Heidelberg police spokesman Harald Kurzer said that a German emergency doctor called to the scene shortly after midnight on Friday found the victim unresponsive but that he managed to restore the man’s vital signs. The man died Sunday afternoon, Kurzer said.
The doctor alerted German police, Kurzer said, and the soldier, who was apparently being held by military police, was taken into German police custody.
Kurzer said the case could be prosecuted as manslaughter but that jurisdiction likely would be handed over to U.S. military authorities.
The bowling center is open until 3 a.m. on weekends, the employee said, with a robust bar business with anywhere from 50 to 100 patrons.
“We have scuffles in here but nothing like that,” he said.