PFC David W. Lawrence is an American soldier from Indiana. He is the son of Brett and Wendy Lawrence. David is 20 years old.
PFC Lawrence is accused of premeditated murder for the alleged shooting of Mullah Muhibullah on Oct. 17 while guarding him in Kandahar province, Afghanistan.
Mullah Muhibullah was a senior Taliban commander and had been captured by U.S. forces the day before his death. Muhibullah’s death was announced by an angry Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Oct. 19. Formal charges were filed against PFC Lawrence the same day, Oct. 19.
PFC Lawrence was medivaced out of Afghanistan on Oct. 24, and he arrived at Fort Carson, Colo. on Nov. 6. Though the Army had ordered a sanity inquiry on Nov. 5 to determine PFC Lawrence’s mental status and whether he is suffering from a major mental defect or disease, the Army decided not to wait for that answer before initiating the court-martial process in PFC Lawrence’s case. When the Army scheduled PFC Lawrence’s Article 32 Investigation (the equivalent to a preliminary hearing) for Nov. 29, the defense submitted two separate requests for a delay to enable the psychiatrists to determine PFC Lawrence’s mental status. Both delay requests were denied.
“We are going to an Article 32 for a kid who is hearing voices,” James Culp, PFC Lawrence’s attorney, said. The Article 32 Investigation proceeded on Nov. 29 and 30. As a result of his medication regiment, which includes the strongest does available of the drug prescribed for the treatment of schizophrenia, PFC Lawrence regularly fell asleep during the legal hearing that would ultimately decide if he will be court-martialed for premeditated murder.
The “minimum” sentence for premeditated murder in the U.S. military is confinement for life. The maximum sentence is the death by execution.
Mr. Culp also said he was concerned the Army might be rushing the case to court-martial to appease Karzai. On Dec. 3, President Barak Obama made a surprise visit to Afghanistan to calm the tensions between the U.S. and Afghanistan that had been exacerbated by the killing of Taliban Commander Mullah Muhibullah. On the same day it was reported by Reuters that President Karzai and his brother have received large payments from the Taliban for the release of key Taliban prisoners.
Coincidentally, on July 7, 2007, the Pajhwok Afghan News Agency reported that Muhibullah, Mullah Omar’s secretary, had already been captured. Neither U.S. nor Afghanistan officials have released any information about the process by which Muhibullah re-entered the stream of insurgency to kill and maim U.S. forces fighting in Afghanistan.
Less than a week before the shooting, PFC Lawrence was examined by psychiatrists and given drugs for depression and sleeplessness. Days later, he was put on guard duty at a detention center in the Arghandab district of Kandahar province, despite having no training for it.
Even before David requested to be taken for treatment to a combat stress clinic in Kandahar, David was reporting to his mother and father that he was hearing voices that were “freaking him out.”
David subsequently reported to his family that his reoccurring hallucinations include seeing soldiers who had died in Afghanistan, including Capt. Dale Goetz. He told his father “… he could see the chaplain with only half a head remaining,” Capt. Dale Goetz was a chaplain in the 4th Infantry Division for the 66th Armor Regiment’s 1st Battalion based out of Ft. Carson, Colorado. Capt. Goetz is the first Army chaplain killed in combat in 40 years.
Capt. Goetz was David’s friend. It was a known fact that David was closer to the chaplain than anyone else in the platoon.
This young man comes from a wonderful family and has very loving, caring parents who are undoubtedly afraid of what lies ahead. This is going to be a lengthy battle. Costs for specialists, travels to and from Colorado and all the costs involved with repeated weeklong stays there, medical evaluations and doctors are adding up.
This family needs help. Please show your support of PFC David Lawrence by making a contribution to his defense fund:
United Community Bank
19710 Stateline Road
Lawrenceburg, IN 47025
Please make checks payable to “FOB PFC David W. Lawrence” Contributions can also be sent via paypal using the e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Any contribution, no matter how small is huge to the Lawrence family. Please keep PFC Lawrence and family in your prayers.