Broward News

Soldier From Hollywood Facing Manslaughter Charge

Christopher Mignocchi, a 22-year-old U.S. Army sergeant stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., is among seven soldiers charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death last July of Pfc. Luke Brown, according to a North Carolina newspaper.

Investigators say that Mignocchi and the other soldiers were trying to get Brown back to the base after a night of hard drinking at a local bar called the Ugly Stick. The Fayetteville Observer reports:

Brown, who had recently finished an Army substance-abuse program, went out to the bar with about 10 men from his unit on July 19.

He complained early that beers cost more than $4 each. Before closing time, he got in an argument with a soldier in the bar who wasn't in his group, then took the man's beer and chugged it.

As closing time approached, Brown ran from the bar saying, "I want to die" and "nobody loves me."

He originally hid under a tractor-trailer, then ripped up a fence to get under it and out into the woods. He charged at the men who went into the woods to retrieve him. To get him out, testimony shows, they restrained Brown and choked him to unconsciousness twice. They bound his hands with zip ties before carrying him out of the woods and loading him in a back seat.

Capt. Carpaccio Owens, a bouncer at the Ugly Stick, helped one of the soldiers find zip ties to bind Brown. He said during the hearing that it seemed like a reasonable request.

"If I had felt they were going to do any harm to any soldier in the U.S. Army, I would not have given them the zip ties," he said.

Brown, at 6 feet tall and 250 pounds, was much larger than anyone else in his crew.

The soldiers managed to finally corral Brown, but the next morning, he was found dead in the back of an SUV, facedown with his hands still bound. Local TV station WRAL has more about the case.

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Thomas Francis