Two 1st AD soldiers accused in Lamebear slaying head to trial
HEIDELBERG, Germany — Over the next week, two 1st Armored Division soldiers will face courts-martial in the November 2002 slaying of Pfc. Clint C. Lamebear outside a Frankfurt pub.
Pfc. Jonathan Schroeder and Pfc. Andrew Humiston, both assigned to the 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment, the same unit as Lamebear, face charges of murder, robbery, conspiracy to robbery and obstruction of justice. Humiston’s trial begins Monday in Wiesbaden. Schroeder’s trial begins Friday.
Lamebear’s family members, including his mother, Kristen June, of Church Rock, N.M., plan to attend the trials. No one from his family was available for comment.
On Thursday, Loretta Humiston and her husband, Mike, a former Marine, arrive in Germany to support their son, whom they haven’t seen since he visited their home in Champlin, Minn., last July.
Life, since her son’s arrest, has been unreal, she said.
“We’re very anxious to see our son,” Loretta Humiston said. “We have no idea where [the trial] is going to go. We have to put our faith in God and the judicial system.”
On Nov. 15, 2002, Lamebear, 18, was spending his first weekend in his new unit. He accompanied several soldiers to Sachsenhausen, a nightclub district in Frankfurt’s South End, for a Friday night out drinking. Both Humiston and Schroeder were also drinking that evening in Sachsenhausen, according to previous testimony at the two soldiers’ Article 32 hearing in January.
The next morning, a German man found Lamebear dead in a garage along a cobblestone alley, German police said. They added that Lamebear suffered severe head wounds from a blunt piece of wood. He drowned in his own blood that came from those wounds, according to Dr. Hans Leukel, a German doctor who examined Lamebear’s body.
The two soldiers stole 40 euros, about $40, from Lamebear, German police said.
That weekend, the German police arrested Schroeder, 22, and Humiston, 23, at Ray Barracks. The soldiers were later turned over to the U.S. military, which charged them with murder and robbery.
Back in Champlin, Loretta Humiston had no idea what her son was going through. No one from the Army contacted them, she said. A relative read in the news that Humiston was accused and told the family, she said.
“It’s got to be a terrible mistake,” said Loretta Humiston of her reaction to the news. “From what I know of my son, it’s just not something he would do.”
Another family member with contacts at the Pentagon got telephone numbers for Andrew Humiston’s commanders, she said. Humiston spent about a week in jail before his family got through to him.
Since then, Humiston has had almost daily contact with his parents. He uses a prepaid telephone card to call home. His stay in prison has been difficult at times, his mother said.
“This has been a shock to him,” Loretta Humiston said.
“He’s developed a strong faith.”
The support and prayers of Humiston’s extended family, who “are in total disbelief in this situation,” have also helped, she said.
Little is known about Schroeder, whose family could not be reached for comment. His home of record is Pontotoc, Miss., Army officials said. Local Pontotoc officials said he did not attend public schools there.
Humiston will be defended by Guy Womack, a Houston-based attorney specializing in military law, and Capt. Steve Carpenter, an Army lawyer, his mother said.
Names of the prosecutors were unavailable Wednesday, said Hilde Patton, a V Corps spokeswoman.
“It’s been devastating, totally unreal,” Loretta Humiston said, who remembers her son as “just a regular kid.”
Through his school years, Humiston was an active Boy Scout who earned several patches, his mother said. He was good in science and excelled in outdoor adventure.
In 1998, Humiston graduated with a 2.9 grade point average from Champlin Park High School, where his studies were focused on industrial technology classes, said Steve Hall, the school’s assistant principal. He kept out of trouble, and was rarely, if ever, at the principal’s office, Hall said.
“He was not a discipline issue, otherwise I would be more familiar with him,” Hall said.
Humiston faced average teen challenges, to include one minor run-in with the law, but nothing serious — certainly not anything as serious as the charges currently against him, his mother said.
Humiston enlisted in the Army on Aug. 8, 2001, and entered infantry basic training at Fort Benning, Ga., on Sept. 8. When he called from Germany, he told his mother he enjoyed Army training and was gearing up for Iraq.
“I still can’t believe he was involved in the murder,” she said. “It’s not in the nature of my son.”
A timeline of events:
Nov. 12 — Pfc. Clint Cotton Lamebear arrives in Germany, assigned to the 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment at Ray Barracks in Friedberg. He spends his first three days processing into his unit in Giessen.Nov. 15 — Lamebear takes the train from Friedberg to Frankfurt with several infantrymen from his new unit. During the trip and later in the city’s nightclub district of Sachsenhausen, the troops are drinking heavily, according to testimony at the Article 32 hearing.Nov. 16 — A German man finds Lamebear dead in a garage along a cobblestone alley. Severe head injuries were caused by a blunt piece of wood, police say. Police identify Lamebear from his name tag in an Army photo he carried.Nov. 18 — German police have two suspects — Pfc. Jonathan Schroeder and Pfc. Andrew Humiston — in custody. Both are assigned to 1-36 Infantry at Ray Barracks.Nov. 20 — German police turn the investigation over to U.S. authorities. Schroeder and Humiston are charged with murder and robbery.Nov. 24 — Lamebear’s 19th birthday.Nov. 25 — Lamebear is buried in New Mexico. Col. Michael Tucker, then-commander of 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division, and several senior leaders attend the funeral.
Jan. 28 — A four-day Article 32 hearing opens in Hanau to determine whether Schroeder and Humiston should face court-martial.March 17 — Army prefers an additional charge of premeditated murder against Schroeder, which is later dropped when the case is transferred to V Corps.May 5 — The case is transferred to V Corps, after the 1st Armored Division deploys to Southwest Asia.May 15 — Schroeder and Humiston are arraigned on murder charges.
— Rick Scavetta