Staff Sgt. Lopez confident she'll have "fair trial"
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  1. #1

    Cool Staff Sgt. Lopez confident she'll have "fair trial"

    Staff Sgt. Lopez confident she'll have "fair trial"
    WIS-TV Columbia

    (Parris Island) Jan. 25, 2006 - For almost a year, we've only seen her face, never heard her voice, until now.

    Staff Sergeant Lopez had one statement about her case, "I feel confident I'll get a fair trial."

    She stood by her lawyer as he answered questions on her behalf. News 10's Heather Brown asked whether she will testify, and the lawyer responded, "That's to be seen. That's certainly her right and we'll talk that over a lot of the next three weeks."

    Tuesday night, she did make one major decision, to have a judge only determine her innocence or guilt at trial. There will be no panel, which is the military equivalent of a jury.

    Her lawyer, Lt. Col. Scott Jack, says his team feels confident about the outcome of the court martial. That's part of the reason they agreed to a trial date one week earlier than scheduled, "It's been over a year and she looks forward to completing the process."

    It's a process where other Marines haven't faced military court, but have been punished in other ways. WIS has learned Lieutenant Randy Brown will be honorably discharged from the Marines.

    Brown is one of the officers seen on the tape of Tharp the day before the recruit drowned. Brown was officer on-duty at the pool that day. He watched as a drill instructor elbowed Tharp in the chest, but never reported it.

    Brown is expected to testify at Lopez's trial, scheduled for February 21st.

    Reported by Heather Brown


  2. #2
    Lopez enters not guilty plea; Court-martial set for Feb. 21
    BY LORI YOUNT, The Beaufort Gazette
    Published Thursday, January 26, 2006

    BEAUFORT -- Staff Sgt. Nadya Lopez pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of negligent homicide in the February 2005 drowning death of a Parris Island recruit and chose to have her court-martial heard by a military judge.

    Lopez is accused of causing Jason Tharp's death by ignoring warning signs of him having trouble in the training pool and pushing him too hard.

    "Staff Sgt. Lopez's desire is to have a fair, impartial trial of fact," lead defense counsel Lt. Col. Scott Jack said after Wednesday's hearing.

    Lopez had a choice of a trial by a jury of all officers or a jury of at least one-third enlisted personnel.

    Both prosecution and defense agreed on bumping the court-martial up to Feb. 21 because Jack received orders to teach at a legal training program in Japan on the previously scheduled date, Feb. 27. Since a jury doesn't need to be selected, the trial is expected to take three to four days, but Jack said his schedule didn't influence Lopez's decision.

    "The incident happened almost a year ago," he said. "All these people have been on legal hold."

    Jack said Lopez and the defense team were concerned, in part, about a trial by panel, or military jury, because its members would be selected by the "convening authority" over the case, Maj. Gen. Keith Stalder, commanding general for training and education command who is based in Quantico, Va.

    Jack said he thought Stalder's approval of an honorable discharge of Lt. Randy Brown for failing to report unauthorized physical contact by a senior drill instructor and Tharp at the pool, an incident caught on tape by a Columbia television news station, was harsh.

    Stalder has granted immunity to five Marines, including Brown, who were part of Tharp's platoon to testify in Lopez's defense.

    "What I anticipate is calling the (drill instructor's) staff to paint a picture of Parris Island, relevant of the physical, mental and psychological state" of Tharp before he arrived at the pool, Jack said.

    According to immunity request documents provided by Jack, the other four granted immunity, all drill instructors, are:

    • Staff Sgt. Jason Richardson, who has received non-criminal administrative punishment for unauthorized contact with Tharp, which consisted of Richardson thrusting his forearm in Tharp's face Feb. 7 while surrounded by fellow drill instructors.

    Jack states in the documents that Richardson will testify to treatment "inflicted" upon Tharp because of his "substandard" performance, including being ordered to move his bed to the end of the bay the day before he died and having all recruits ordered not to speak to him.

    • Sgt. Bobby Hall, who received administrative punishment for his actions as Tharp's drill instructor.

    • Sgt. Seth Howard, who also received administrative level punishment.

    • Sgt. Derrick Huff, who also was administratively punished for his actions as Tharp's drill instructor.

    Hall, Howard and Huff all were temporarily relieved of their duties as drill instructors, according to immunity documents. Jack said he expects them to testify to Tharp's documented poor performance and "excessive" punishment he received for it, which will be evaluated by experts who are anticipated to testify such treatment can "generate depression" and fatigue in a recruit.

    Immunity for Staff Sgt. Anthony Davis was requested by Jack and recommended by prosecutor Capt. Doug Hatch, but Stalder denied it, listing no reasons in his written denial.

    Davis was the senior combat water survival instructor in the pool the day of Tharp's death and has testified in investigations and at an August hearing that Tharp showed no signs of trouble and Lopez acted properly and


    In his recommendation for Davis' immunity, Hatch noted Davis was "one of three people who directly witnessed the death of Recruit Tharp" and as his role as non-

    commissioned officer in charge "is arguably subject to some liability for the events of 8 February."

    Hatch also noted this for Brown, who was the safety officer on the pool deck, and Brown was granted immunity by Stalder.

    With immunity for testimony, the Marines can't invoke their right to remain silent on the stand, Jack said.

    Contact Lori Yount at 986-5531 or To comment on this story, please go to


  3. #3
    Tharp was murdered, manslaughter, plain and simple-all calculated. The day prior he was beaten and forced to move his bunk all isolated (what happened, how?) that is abuse obviously by Richardson. How could this poor kid even swim after being assaulted and punched by and thrown around by the DI Richardson, and then thrown into the pool. Obviously he was fatigued and others just played to the orchestra of the SDI and let him drown-premeditated. JUSTICE FOR THARP, JUSTICE FOR THARP. Let the evil deeds of those not go unpunished!

  4. #4 thing you lack is the experience of Marine Corps boot-camp. An outsider, such as yourself, lacking any knowledge of what it's all reaching beyond your limits. Your comments are as worthless as Tetties on a footlocker.
    Crayon, go color yourself stupid.....

  5. #5
    SSgt Lopez was acquitted at trial. The case was so poor, her defense didn't even bother to put on a defense. Case closed.

    This is an old thread and opinions by Crayon are from an obviously uninformed civilian.

    Thread will be closed.

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