Wilder’s alcohol level was six times U.S. legal limit
Create Post
Results 1 to 4 of 4
  1. #1

    Exclamation Wilder’s alcohol level was six times U.S. legal limit

    Wilder’s alcohol level was six times U.S. legal limit
    By Steve Mraz, Stars and Stripes
    European edition, Sunday, March 16, 2008

    An hour or two before Spc. Donald Anthony Wilder’s death on Jan. 8, 2006, the alcohol level in his body reached 0.50, according to medical documents.

    That’s more than six times the 0.08 blood-alcohol concentration that will get you arrested for drunken driving in America. Lethal levels are considered anything higher than 0.35 blood-alcohol concentration.

    Officially, Wilder died of “acute alcohol intoxication,” according to his autopsy. Plainly put, the 21-year-old died of alcohol poisoning.

    Wilder was found — blue and unresponsive — in a Mannheim barracks shower after a night at the bars with friends. On the evening of Jan. 7, he drank at a Masonic initiation and then hit downtown Mannheim bars.

    At one bar when Wilder was already “pretty intoxicated,” a friend saw him take seven or eight shots of rum and drink two to four rum and colas, according to Criminal Investigation Command documents.

    Wilder’s alcohol problem began months before his death.

    Wilder drank up to 20 12-ounce beers up to three times a week plus he drank one 12-ounce beer a night, according to medical records. Wilder had alcohol tolerance and withdrawal symptoms and reported that he could not stop drinking until passing out or blacking out, according to records.

    In October 2005, he referred himself to the Army Substance Abuse Program in Mannheim where counselor Hope Daniels initially diagnosed Wilder with alcohol dependence, according to records.

    “Patient has limited skills in coping with the self-destructive pattern of heavy alcohol consumption,” according to Daniels’ summary dated Oct. 17, 2005. “Outpatient group would provide him the context of preventing relapse and developing goals for continued sobriety and quality of life.”

    Wilder’s diagnosis was changed to alcohol abuse on Oct. 20, 2005, by Timothy Holloman, the acting clinical director.

    “[Wilder] attended all scheduled sessions, both individual and group, and met all of his treatment goals,” according to Daniels’ Jan. 24, 2006, statement. “By self-report and command report, Spc. Wilder remained abstinent for the period of enrollment.”

    Wilder left the program as a “treatment success” on Dec. 19, 2005.

    But on the night of Jan. 7, 2006, after being hazed and initiated into a Masonic group, Wilder went on a drinking binge.

    The two soldiers who went drinking with Wilder that night both knew he had a drinking problem. A specialist from Wilder’s unit told investigators that Wilder’s death could have been avoided if his friends and supervisor had stopped him from drinking, avoided the bars or took him home early.

    A CID agent’s questioning of the specialist who was with Wilder that night at the bars gives some insight into Wilder’s mood.

    “What was [Wilder’s] demeanor after the ceremony?” an agent asked, according to records.

    “Ready to party,” the specialist replied. “He was glad the ceremony was over.”

    “What did Spc. Wilder do after the ceremony?” the agent asked.

    “He wanted to go to downtown Mannheim to party,” the specialist said.


  2. #2
    Timeline in Spc. Donald Anthony Wilder’s death
    By Steve Mraz, Stars and Stripes
    European edition, Sunday, March 16, 2008

    6 p.m., Jan. 7, 2006: Spc. Donald Anthony Wilder arrives at Mannheim High School gymnasium to set up for an initiation to become a Knights Templar within a Masonic organization. Wilder is already a member of the Prince Hall Masons with the Perfect Square Lodge No. 88 in Mannheim and has gone through the first three Masonic degrees.

    7 p.m.: The ceremony starts when nine Masons and the three initiates, including Wilder, are present.

    7-10 p.m.: The candidates are taught about the Knights Templar. At some point in the ceremony, the initiates go outside the gym to drink the “five libations,” which involves sipping liquor from a cup. The initiates are outside in front of the high school and asked by a civilian Mason if they want to leave or not be paddled. All three say they would be hit. They are blindfolded, told to take off their shirts, pants and shoes and brought inside the gym to “walk a line.”

    The line consists of Masons paddling or “touching” the initiates with wooden paddles, ranging in size from 6-by-8 inches to 4-by-15 inches.

    “I think (Wilder) was hit about 20 times,” according to the statement of a sergeant in Wilder’s unit whose name was redacted from the investigation report. “I know one time he was hit one (sic) in the right leg. I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but I think he saw it coming and moved out of the way.”

    A specialist from Wilder’s unit said he hit him a few times along with other people.

    “The line was sort of like a staggered line — you walk down one line, turn and walk down another line,” according to the specialist’s statement to investigators. “As the person walks down the line, he is hit with the paddle two times. Spc. Wilder walked through the line and was hit with the paddle. Only four or five people hit Spc. Wilder with the paddle.”

    The paddling lasts three to four minutes, after which Wilder says his last obligation, finishing the ceremony.

    10 p.m.: The ceremony ends.

    “After the ceremony was over, Spc. Wilder was happy he finished, happy he was a Sir Knight, but at the same time, he seemed a little sad he was leaving Germany,” according to the statement of a staff sergeant present at the ceremony. “He was giving everyone his e-mail address so we could stay in touch with him. Spc. Wilder even hugged most everyone who was there.”

    Ten days later, the staff sergeant is shown a photograph of Wilder’s injuries and asked by investigators if the paddling was excessive. The staff sergeant replies: “A little, yeah.”

    The investigator then asks the staff sergeant, based on the photo, how many times he thought Wilder was hit.

    “More than 10,” the staff sergeant answers. “It also depends on your complexion. It does look bad.”

    10 p.m.-1 a.m., Jan. 8, 2006: Wilder, a sergeant and a specialist go to some bars in downtown Mannheim, including the Pavilion and Murphy’s Law Irish Pub. Wilder wants to party. At the first club, the sergeant sees Wilder drink four shots of rum. He also sees Wilder having mixed drinks at other clubs.

    By the time Wilder leaves the first bar, he is already “pretty intoxicated.” At the next bar, Wilder has seven or eight shots of rum and then drinks two to four rum and colas.

    When they leave the last bar, Wilder throws up twice on the sidewalk, one right after the other.

    “The vomit looked like food,” the sergeant stated. “No blood or anything else in it. He got some on the front of his PT jacket. He was staggering and slurring his words. I had to help him.”

    1 a.m.-5:30 a.m.: The men return to the barracks, but Wilder is passed out in the car. The sergeant and specialist carry Wilder up to the second floor of the barracks.

    “We dragged him down the hall,” according to the sergeant’s statement. “We used his arms to drag him.”

    Because Wilder has vomit on his clothes, the soldiers strip him down, put him in the shower, wash him off and dry him. They leave him in the shower. They later wrap Wilder in a blanket and place him on his right side.

    The sergeant and specialist check on Wilder repeatedly throughout the early morning until they fall asleep.

    11 a.m.: The sergeant wakes and checks on Wilder.

    “He was in the same position as last night,” the sergeant stated. “I pulled his arm up and noticed it was stiff. His face was also blue.”

    12:05 p.m.: Donald Anthony Wilder is pronounced dead.

    “The levels of alcohol as determined by toxicologic analysis are greater than reported lethal limits,” according to Army Col. (Dr.) Kathleen Ingwersen, who performed Wilder’s autopsy. “The blunt force injuries are relatively superficial and noncontributory to the cause of death.”


  3. #3
    Soldier died of alcohol poisoning. Was anyone else to blame?
    By Steve Mraz, Stars and Stripes
    European edition, Sunday, March 16, 2008

    MANNHEIM, Germany — Seven soldiers and two civilians implicated in the hazing of Spc. Donald Anthony Wilder were either not charged or had most of their punishments suspended for the crime.

    Even though a criminal investigation found that the nine men had committed the offense, just one soldier, a specialist, lost rank. The only two other soldiers punished received written reprimands and had to perform 45 days of extra duty.

    According to documents obtained by Stars and Stripes, Army investigators determined that a group of nine men hazed Wilder and two other soldiers during a Masonic initiation on Jan. 7, 2006. The ranks of the soldiers involved ranged from specialist to sergeant first class.

    Hours after the ceremony, Wilder was declared dead in his Mannheim barracks. His cause of death was determined as alcohol poisoning. His wounds from the hazing did not contribute to his death, according to the autopsy.

    Of the seven soldiers implicated in the hazing, three received Article 15 punishment for their actions. Those three soldiers — a specialist, a sergeant and a staff sergeant — all had some or most of their punishments suspended during field-grade Article 15 hearings, according Criminal Investigation Command documents.

    Among other violations, agents investigated suspects on charges of assault and cruelty and maltreatment, according to the investigation report. If convicted in a court-martial and given the maximum sentence, they could have received up to a year of jail time and a dishonorable discharge, according to the 2008 Manual for Courts-Martial.

    Only one soldier — the specialist — lost rank. The other two received written reprimands and had to perform 45 days of extra duty.

    Staff Sgt. Geustravious Rice was one of the soldiers who received an Article 15.

    “I have been punished,” Rice wrote in an e-mail. “I have grieved over the loss of a brother and a friend. I been (sic) deployed for 15 months. So as you can see a lot has happened since then, now respectfully I asked (sic) that you leave me alone in reference to this case. I am sorry for his families (sic) loss but the healing process has began for me.”

    The 21st Theater Sustainment Command would not release the name of the officer who presided over the Article 15s because federal statutes prohibit it, said Lt. Col. Tamara Parker, the command’s spokeswoman. The statutes state that the release of information concerning Article 15 action and overseas-stationed personnel may be withheld.

    When asked to interview the officer who gave the Article 15, Parker said that person was “not here.” She provided no additional information as to whether the individual was in the U.S. and possibly outside the scope of the statutes.

    When asked why some punishments were suspended, Parker said she did not know what the situation was but that she had talked to the investigator who handled the case. She addressed the issue of suspended punishments in an e-mail.

    “If a soldier commits misconduct during the suspension period, the suspension can be vacated and the punishment imposed,” Parker wrote.

    Nothing in the CID investigation file indicates that the three soldiers’ suspensions were revoked.

    Wilder’s parents, Anthony and Diane, said they felt betrayed by the Army when they learned punishments were suspended for the soldiers.

    “The Army has done everything it can to deceive and mislead us throughout the last two years,” the couple wrote in an e-mail. “However, more importantly, by suspending the sentences, the Army has ensured there is no deterrent to a repeat of another hazing incident and, potentially, another young man’s death. While publicly stating hazing will not be tolerated, the Army has given its tacit approval to a barbaric ritual.”

    Hazing ritual

    The hazing took place at the Mannheim High School gym during a ceremony in which Wilder and two other soldiers were being initiated into the Masonic group Knights Templar under Andrew Morgan Commandery No. 9. The ritual included drinking and members paddling the initiates’ buttocks for several minutes. Wilder was already a member of the Prince Hall Masons’ Perfect Square Lodge No. 88 in Mannheim.

    He died of alcohol poisoning the next morning, following a night of celebratory drinking in downtown Mannheim. Wilder had a history of alcohol problems and referred himself for treatment months earlier.

    Photos taken in the barracks where Wilder’s body was found show large bruises and scrapes to his buttocks, thighs and scrotum. An autopsy report from Army Col. (Dr.) Kathleen Ingwersen confirmed the injuries but stated they did not contribute to Wilder’s death.

    Based on their knowledge of what happened during the nearly two-year investigation, CID agents sought charges of aggravated assault, cruelty, maltreatment and dereliction of duty for those involved.

    Army lawyers ruled out charges of negligent homicide and aggravated assault because Wilder consented to the paddling and the paddling injuries did not lead to his death. Officers also ruled out charging those involved with conspiracy, obstruction of justice or false official statement because those offenses were linked to the Masonic initiation and not Wilder’s death.

    “Inconsistencies in statements are normal with eyewitnesses and anything and anybody dealing with the Masonic initiation was irrelevant, as we know Spc. Wilder walked out of there,” according to a January 2007 statement attributed to a major in the CID report. “CID should not be investigating the Masonic organization as they had not violated any laws.”

    The only offense acted on was hazing, which is a violation of Army regulation 600-20. Those who hazed could have been subject to court-martial for cruelty and maltreatment, and assault. Civilian employees who violate the Army’s hazing policy can be punished for their actions, according to regulation 600-20. The investigation report shows no evidence that the two civilians involved were punished.

    The punishments

    Among the three soldiers punished, on Aug. 16, 2006, the staff sergeant was reduced to sergeant, which was suspended; ordered to forfeit $1,385 a month for two months, which was suspended; restricted for 45 days, which was suspended; ordered to perform extra duties for 45 days; and received a written reprimand.

    On Aug. 9, 2006, the sergeant was reduced to specialist, which was suspended; ordered to forfeit $1,136 a month for two months, which was suspended; restricted for 45 days, which was suspended; ordered to perform extra duty for 45 days; and received a written reprimand.

    On the same day, the specialist was reduced to private first class, ordered to forfeit $846, restricted for 45 days and ordered to perform extra duty for 45 days. His fine of $846 was suspended.

    The investigation was closed in September when a final report was issued, according to CID documents.

    Wilder’s parents continue to seek information about what happened to their son and are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved in the incident. They have set up an e-mail address (helpanthony@live.com) in hopes of receiving tips.

    “If this is the last thing I do, I’m going to find out what happened,” Diane Wilder said.


  4. #4
    An initiation, a night of drinking, a lonely death
    Stars and Stripes
    European edition, Sunday, March 16, 2008

    Shortly after noon on Jan. 8, 2006, Spc. Donald Anthony Wilder was declared dead in his Mannheim, Germany, barracks. The 21-year-old soldier and Iraq war veteran died from alcohol poisoning.

    Wilder, who referred himself for treatment for an alcohol problem, was diagnosed in October 2005 as suffering from alcohol abuse. He was found dead in a shower in Room 230 of Building 1586 on Spinelli Barracks. His death was ruled accidental.

    Wilder was a radio communication security controller repairman with the 512th Maintenance Company. Fellow soldiers described him as a fun-loving person who tried to get along with everyone.

    In March, Wilder was set to transfer to Fort Hood, Texas. Wilder dreamed of opening a dive shop and becoming a scuba diving instructor after his Army career.

    In the hours before his death, Wilder participated in a Masonic ritual during which he drank and was repeatedly hit with several wooden paddles.

    Photos of his body taken the day he died show bruises and scrapes to his buttocks, thighs and scrotum. Stars and Stripes recently obtained a copy of his autopsy, witness statements and the Criminal Investigation Command report of what happened to Wilder.

    Today in Stars and Stripes, an account — based on a review of hundreds of pages of documents — of Wilder’s final hours.

    — Steve Mraz


Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not Create Posts
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts