Soldier faces murder charges in stabbing death
A 1st Personnel Command soldier will face murder charges in the January fatal stabbing of a fellow soldier in Schweinfurt, Germany.
The Army will arraign Pfc. Mario A. Lesesne on Thursday in Mannheim on premeditated murder, attempted-murder and assault charges for a Jan. 21 incident that left Pfc. Valeria Gamboa dead and two other soldiers injured, according to an Army news release.
Gamboa died of multiple injuries, including two gashes to her throat. In all, she suffered 23 wounds, according to testimony.
Lesesne, 26, is also charged with stabbing Gamboa’s roommate, Spc. Jamie Kaskowitz, and assaulting Kaskowitz’s boyfriend, Spc. Larry Thomas, who both tried to stop the alleged attack.
Lesesne, a medic, has been in the Army nearly seven years and worked as a technician in Heidelberg’s Army hospital.
Gamboa, 19, wanted to break up with Lesesne because he was jealous and controlling, according to the Article 32 testimony. The two had gone out that night, along with many other soldiers, to a club called Visions, not getting back to the barracks until after 4 a.m.
They argued several times, according to testimony. She died shortly after 5 a.m. in her barracks while waiting for an ambulance that took about 25 minutes to arrive.
Capt. Joe Venghaus, a defense lawyer for Lesesne, told the hearing officer in opening statements of the Article 32 that whatever the evidence showed, “What you’re not going to see is anything indicating premeditation.”
Premeditated murder in the military justice system carries a mandatory minimum penalty of life in prison, with the possibility of parole. The penalty for a murder that was not premeditated is discretionary, “as a court-martial may direct,” according to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
After reviewing the Article 32 investigation, Lt. Gen. James D. Thurman, V Corps commander, referred the charges against Lesesne to court-martial, the Army release stated.