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Navy Investigating Death of Gay Sailor

Two weeks after a navy seaman was found shot to death in a guard shack on Camp Pendleton, the Navy still has not decided if the case is serious enough to go before the military equivalent of a grand jury.

The Navy continues to maintain there’s no evidence to show August Provost’s death was a hate crime. Provost, who was gay, had told relatives before he was found dead, that he was being harassed.

Navy spokesman Matt Brown says there’s no time limit on the investigation. It’s currently still under the authority of the commander of the unit in which Provost served.

“The commander of Assault Craft Unit Five (ACU 5) will determine, based on the information provided by investigators, if this is a case that perhaps should be considered by a higher level review, such as a general court martial,” says Brown.

A suspect is being held in the brig on Camp Pendleton. Brown says under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, he can be held indefinitely, as long as investigators can show a military judge they are aggressively pursuing the case.

The first step in the legal process is for an Article 32 hearing, the military equivalent of a grand jury, to hear the evidence. They then make a recommendation as to whether the case should go to court-martial.

This process could take several weeks. If the case goes to a court-martial, it could end up in the hands of the incoming commander of the Navy Region Southwest. The current commander, Admiral Len Hering, is due to retire in August.

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