Court Martial for Resident Evil Patches
UNITED STATES ARMY COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS
2014 CCA LEXIS 219
Decided March 31, 2014, before Judges KERN, ALDYKIEWICZ, and MARTIN, Appellate Military Judges. Judge ALDYKIEWICZ concurs. MARTIN, Judge, concurring in part, dissenting in part.
From the majority opinion by Judge Kern:
A military judge sitting as a general court -martial convicted appellant, contrary to his pleas, of violating a lawful general regulation; knowingly becoming a member of, or affiliating with, a group which encouraged the violent overthrow or destruction of the United States Government; and advising, counseling and urging disloyalty and mutiny by members of the Armed Forces, … The military judge sentenced appellant to a dishonorable discharge, four years confinement, and reduction to the grade of E-1. The convening authority approved the adjudged sentence.
Also from Judge Kern’s opinion:
At the time of the incidents that led to the court -martial, appellant was a military policeman with approximately three years of service. He was married, twenty-one years of age… By the time of the investigation, he owned a Springfield X.D.45 caliber pistol, an AK-47, a Remington 870 12-gauge shotgun, and a Mossberg 30-06 rifle with a scope.
The incidents seem to be about this military kid’s alleged group or “militia” that supposedly intended to overthrow the government and “‘Dark Horse’ organization” . The majority opinion of the court here upholds the conviction and sentence.
In dissent Judge Martin thinks there should instead be a sentencing rehearing because much of the evidence is not corroborated (much provided by a friend military wife – did she take a joke too seriously?). Judge Martin would like to see the original judge revisit his sentencing, also noting that sentencing guidelines might be considered differently. The evidence of the group itself is tenuous, and it really does seem like maybe it could have a been a joke, or a role-play-fun-group:
During cross examination, PFC JL further testified that one of the patches he saw at appellant’s apartment depicted the Resident Evil umbrella insignia. In fact, appellant often spoke of a zombie invasion and how they should protect themselves during a zombie invasion and the discussion of zombies was fairly prevalent. Finally, PFC JL testified that he did not take the group seriously and thought it was a joke.
Even if the “zombie” is not a joke, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs has also spoken about the zombie invasion scenario, the military has training prepared for it, and even hired Max Brooks to speak to soldiers.
Judge Kern’s majority opinion, footnote 3 explains:
Resident Evil is a video game that inspired a science fiction film series. The plot involves a zombie apocalypse.
It also apparently inspired Specialist Moyers for a “paintball team” that somehow became this “militia”. Surely Moyers is not the first to be inspired by zombie insignia. The particular insignia in question doesn’t particularly look playful or even related to “zombie” at all. But, Moyers must not be the only one inspired by it because look, a patch is available right now on Ebay:
The intention of the organization was to support and defend the Constitution, and was designed to fight alongside the military if need be, if the government “goes corrupt,” and if they needed to respond. He likened it to making contingency plans.
At trial, the government did not call any members of the so-called “Dark Horse” militia to testify. Instead, the government relied on testimony from Mrs. KR, PFC JL, and law enforcement. The government also admitted, … Dark Horse documents from appellant’s computer, patches found in appellant’s home, weapons found in appellant’s home, photos of appellant posing with a weapon, and photos of other soldiers in appellant’s unit at the Outpost firing weapons and standing near the campfire.
So it’s clear from his texts and private writings that he was interested in thinking about breaking the chain of command to protect (with violence if “necissary”) his own view of the Constitution. That’s enough for the conviction right there. The really damning evidence is texts to friend military wife, Mrs. KR:
I am not bored and I can’t fully restore the U.S. back to the way our founding fathers made it but ill do my best and force is the only way we will win and take out our own countries tyrant / I know that it is a forceful combative organization. I know what I’m forming / Once the tyrant has been taken out restore order and the government how it was initially created Remove unconstitutional amendments. And then leave it up to the people to elect a new president
But was he being serious? Was he a threat or is he guilty of having an imagination? He admits:
While he admitted to sending the texts, he stated that while he was angry at the time of the communication, he did not have any current intent to overthrow the government. Appellant also stated that he was upset with his unit leadership at the time he sent the texts because they did not process his Basic Allowance for Housing request in a timely manner following his marriage.
Well, I guess now he’s got new housing for four years.