Two seek protective custody in K-Town case tied to gang
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Two additional people in the Sgt. Juwan Johnson murder investigation have requested the Army provide them with protective custody, according to an Army official.
The latest requests makes a total of at least three people who have sought protection in the case that is linked to the Chicago-based Gangster Disciples. Late last week, Spc. Randy Berry requested the Army provide him protective assistance after he testified during Spc. Bobby Morrissette’s Article 32 hearing. Morrissette is one of two soldiers charged so far in Johnson’s murder.
“We have two additional people who have requested protective assistance,” said Lt. Col. Liz Hibner, U.S. Army Europe spokeswoman.
Hibner did not specify if the two latest individuals to request protective assistance were witnesses, potential witnesses or suspects. She also would not confirm if the people have entered protective custody.
The ongoing 17-month investigation is examining the July 3, 2005, beating of Johnson during an alleged gang-initiation ceremony into the Gangster Disciples. Johnson was found dead the next day in his barracks room on Kleber Kaserne. Investigators initially identified eight servicemembers as suspects in Johnson’s murder.
Morrissette is not being held in pretrial confinement and was under relatively loose supervision during breaks in last week’s hearing. Morrissette, who witnesses testified was in the Gangster Disciples, has been given no-contact orders with certain individuals, and his pass privileges have been modified, officials have said.
With Morrissette’s hearing concluded, a recommendation will now be made to Brig. Gen. Scott West, 21st Theater Support Command commanding general and convening authority in the matter, as to whether Morrissette should face a court-martial on his charges.
Also last week, Army officials said a second soldier was charged with murder in the Johnson investigation. Pfc. Latisha Ellis has been charged with murder and violating Army regulations on gang-related activities in connection with Johnson’s death. She faces a maximum sentence of life without parole. An Article 32 hearing for Ellis is scheduled in early February; she also is not in pretrial custody, officials have said.
No one else has been charged in the matter, Hibner said.