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10-26-07, 11:21 AM #1
Camp Foster Marine guilty of lies, theft
Camp Foster Marine guilty of lies, theft
Jury convicts PFC on multiple charges, including claiming he was a corporal
By Cindy Fisher, Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Saturday, October 27, 2007
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — A Camp Foster-based Marine private first class was found guilty Thursday of stealing a digital camera and bag from a fellow Marine, breaking into the Foster Youth and Teen Center, masquerading as a corporal and other charges during a two-day court-martial on Camp Foster.
After three hours of deliberation, the jury found Pfc. Brian J. Carbone also guilty of wrongfully appropriating a government vehicle, barracks keys and Marine Corps Community Services disc jockey equipment worth about $2,700; unlawfully entering a barracks room; making a false official statement; and unauthorized absence.
Sentencing was scheduled for Friday.
Carbone, who joined the Corps in July 2006, “used his own initiative” to return to Pennsylvania for a week without notifying anyone that he missed his military flight to Okinawa on April 27, witnesses testified.
He didn’t report to Okinawa until May 7 and checked into the administration center wearing corporal chevrons, claiming he was meritoriously promoted at his occupation school, witnesses testified. A check of his records quickly revealed his only promotion was to private first class.
The Marine’s behavior was “a problem not conducive to good order and discipline,” Master Sgt. Kevin D. Basso, Carbone’s supervisor, testified.
“I’d like to be a master gunnery sergeant, but you have to do the work to get there,” Basso said. “It could run rampant, Marines putting on whatever rank they wanted when they were away from their commands.”
From that rough start, Basso said he tried to give Carbone the benefit of the doubt.
However, in June, a duty noncommissioned officer found Carbone with his section’s government vehicle at Barracks 472. When questioned, Carbone said he was on standby as a driver for his section commander, witnesses had said Wednesday.
Marines from his section said there was no such billet in their office and that the section commander was on leave in the States during that period.
Also in June, Carbone began volunteering at the MCCS-run Foster Youth and Teen Center, where he often played with center-owned disc-jockey equipment. On July 3, instead of replacing the equipment in its locked storage room, he stacked it against a wall, a center employee said.
Later that evening, Carbone convinced another Marine authorized to drive a government van to take him to the youth center and help him load the bulky DJ equipment and bring it back to his barracks. He told the Marine that he had rented it to give a command-authorized Fourth of July party, according to court records.
In the following weeks, witnesses testified, he told conflicting stories that the gear was a gift from his mother or that it was a late shipment of personal items from the States.
Once the center officials discovered the gear missing, they reported it to the military police and fingered Carbone as a suspect.
Staff Sgt. David Miller, a military police officer, testified that when he went to Carbone’s barracks on Aug. 15, he and his partner found pieces of the DJ equipment in plain sight under a stairwell, in a lounge and in a storage closet. He said Carbone claimed the gear was a gift from his mother but then admitted it wasn’t his.
Carbone was placed in confinement, and it was only during a pretrial confinement inventory of his room that the barracks manager discovered his personal camera and bag, worth about $600, among Carbone’s belongings.
During opening statements on Wednesday, prosecutor Capt. Timothy Aoyagi said Carbone “was doing just what he wanted, and when it looked like he might get caught, he lied.”
In closing arguments Thursday, Aoyagi told the jury: “The evidence paints a panorama of misconduct, and it’s not pretty.”
But Capt. Kristy Milton, Carbone’s attorney, asked the jury to reflect on their own inexperience when they were young Marines.
“Look at the evidence, the lack of evidence and your own experience with PFCs,” she said, admitting, “Did he make the best decisions? No.”
IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
ONE PROUD MARINE
Once a Marine...Always a Marine
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