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Airman could face death penalty in double-murder case

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. (AFPN) -- An Airman here charged for the on-base killings of another Airman and his wife could face the death penalty when the case goes to court next year.

Senior Airman Andrew Paul Witt is charged with two counts of premeditated murder, covered under Article 118 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. He is charged with stabbing Senior Airman Andrew Schliepsiek and his wife, Jamie, at their on-base residence July 5.

Maj. Gen. Mike Collings, Warner Robins Air Logistics Center commander here, referred the case to a general court-martial Dec. 14 as a capital case, which carries the maximum penalty of death. The trial is likely to begin in the spring in nearby Macon, officials said.

Airman Witt is also charged with one count of attempted murder, under Article 80 of the UCMJ, for a similar attack on Senior Airman Jason King on the same day.

The referral by General Collings, the general court-martial convening authority here, follows an Article 32 investigation conducted Nov. 15 and 16. The Article 32 investigating officer forwarded her recommendation to the installation commander here who then forwarded the case to General Collings.

An Article 32 hearing is essentially a pretrial investigation mandated by the UCMJ before general court-martial proceedings.

Airman Witt was formally charged July 8. The charges are based on evidence gathered in Air Force investigations. In a military court-martial, the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The Airman has been in the Air Force since Nov. 27, 2001. He has been an avionics technician assigned to 116th Air Control Wing since Aug. 26, 2002.

Senior Airman Schliepsiek was a ground radar maintenance technician assigned to the 54th Combat Communications Squadron. Airman King is assigned to the 53rd CCS.

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