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Accused Killer Of Navy Broadcaster Gets Preliminary Hearing

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dmitry Chepusov
Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dmitry Chepusov

An Article 32 hearing is being held Friday in the case of the strangulation death of Navy Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class Dmitry Chepusov, a broadcaster with American Forces Network-Europe.

Article 32 is the military version of a civilian preliminary hearing. Stars and Stripes reports the officer in charge of the Article 32 will decide if there is enough evidence against Air Force Staff Sgt. Sean Oliver, who has been charged with killing Chepusov, to send the case to court-martial.

As Home Post previously reported, German police stopped Oliver in the early morning hours of Dec. 14, 2013, for driving erratically in Kaiserslautern, near Ramstein Air Base.

Chepusov's dead body was in the passenger seat of Oliver's car.

German authorities later performed an autopsy on Chepusov, and ruled he died from “force to the throat.”

Army Spc. Cody A. Kramer was also charged in connection with Chepusov's death. At Kramer's Article 32 hearing in April, witnesses testifying for the prosecution suggested a motive behind the killing.

Chepusov was married to Alejandra Zolezzi. Prosecutor Capt. Daniel O’Connor contended, according to Stars and Stripes, that Zolezzi and Oliver were carrying on an affair:

Chepusov wanted to break from Zolezzi completely and threatened to disclose her relationship with Oliver to their chain of command at AFN-Europe.

Were he to have done that, Zolezzi would have been sent back to the U.S. Oliver, meanwhile, might have lost both his girlfriend and his military career.
Money may also have been a motive, say prosecutors:
Oliver planned to murder Chepusov in order to save his career and keep his girlfriend (Chepusov's wife), who would receive a $400,000 life insurance payout when Chepusov died.

The Article 32 for Oliver is being held at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

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