Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live


Airman Found Guilty Of Murder In Killing Of Navy Broadcaster

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

After just five hours of deliberation, a military panel found Air Force Staff Sgt. Sean Oliver guilty of unpremeditated murder in the killing of Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dmitry Chepusov.

Stars and Stripes reports the panel (the military's version of a jury) had the option of finding Oliver guilty of premeditated murder, but chose instead the lesser charge.

Oliver testified during his court-martial that while he choked Chepusov, he didn't intend to kill him.


Oliver was involved in an adulterous relationship with Chepusov's estranged wife, Karla Alejandra Zolezzi. (Both Chepusov and Oliver worked for American Forces Network-Europe.) The prosecution claimed Oliver murdered Chepusov to keep him from telling Oliver's chain of command about the affair.

Zolezzi also stood to receive a $400,000 life insurance payout upon Chepusov's death.

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.”


Oliver's sentencing hearing starts Thursday. He faces a sentence of life in prison.

KPBS has created a public safety coverage policy to guide decisions on what stories we prioritize, as well as whose narratives we need to include to tell complete stories that best serve our audiences. This policy was shaped through months of training with the Poynter Institute and feedback from the community. You can read the full policy here.