Recently, I communicated with Brett Lawrence, a man whose son, David, is serving a 10-year prison sentence at the U.S. Military Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., after pleading guilty to one charge of premeditated murder. Before you turn away, read the message below — to which I added a few hyperlinks — from Lawrence and his wife, Wendy:
Our son, U.S. Army Private First Class David Lawrence, pleaded guilty to one charge of premeditated murder, essentially admitting he fired the shot Oct. 16, 2010, that killed Mullah Mohebullah, a senior Taliban commander in custody of U.S. forces in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. After pleading guilty, David was sentenced to 12.5 years behind bars — later reduced to 10 years — at the U.S. Military Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Today, one essential question remains about this tragic incident: Why was David put in a position to be guarding this high-value target?
That question lies at the heart of our effort to help David obtain a further reduction in sentence and/or an early release so he can receive professional medical help.
Prior to the deadly incident, David had been “hearing voices” and was taking Army-prescribed anti-depressant medication following the murder of his close friend, Army Chaplain (Capt.) Dale Goetz, by Afghan insurgents. Incredibly, one Army doctor deemed our son not mentally responsible for the killing and diagnosed David as schizophrenic and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Regardless of that doctor’s assessment and despite the fact David had no training as a guard, someone in David’s chain of command still saw fit to assign him to stand guard over the high-value prisoner. Alone.
After the deadly incident, David was flown out of Afghanistan Oct. 24, 2010, and arrived at Fort Carson, Colo., Nov. 6. Though the Army had ordered a sanity inquiry Nov. 5 to determine whether or not he suffers from a major mental defect or disease, that same Army decided not to wait for an answer before initiating the court-martial process.
When the Army scheduled David’s Article 32 Investigation (the equivalent to a preliminary hearing) for Nov. 29, the defense submitted two separate requests for delay to enable the psychiatrists to determine his mental status. Both delay requests were denied. Why? Because then-Afghan President Hamid Karzai had publicly lashed out at the United States for Mohebullah’s death, and U.S. Government officials seemed to want to appease Afghan government officials.
After suffering some financial setbacks in recent months, we decided to launch this campaign as a last-ditch effort to raise funds to continue our fight on David’s behalf. Right now, we hope to raise at least $10,000, an amount that will pay for the following: Shipping court-martial-related documents from our former residence in Indiana to our current residence in Arizona; paying legal fees; paying for medical specialists; and funding travel costs to and from Fort Leavenworth.
We need your help. Please keep David and his family in your prayers.
With much appreciation,
Brett and Wendy Lawrence
If you would like to help the Lawrence family continue fighting for their son, two methods exist via which you can make a contribution.
You can send a check, payable to “FOB PFC David W. Lawrence” in care of United Community Bank at the address below:
United Community Bank
19710 Stateline Road
Lawrenceburg, IN 47025
Or you can make a contribution via this PayPal account: email@example.com.
Stay tuned for updates as I will make every attempt to keep you posted about their efforts.
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