Article 32 Hearing
Volume 17

September 10, 1970

1st Lt. Edwin Casper

(The hearing reopened at 1335, 10 September 1970.)

COL ROCK:  This hearing will come to order.  Let the record reflect that all parties present at the recess are currently in the hearing room.

(A conference telephone call was placed to 1LT Edwin G. Casper II, who was sworn, and testified as follows.)

Questions by COL ROCK:
Q  Would you please give me your full name, your rank, and your current military address?
A  Okay.  Edwin George Casper II; rank, First Lieutenant; military address, 4th Officer Student Company, Fort Wolters, Texas.
Q  Are you in the U.S.  Army?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  This afternoon I am going to ask you certain questions and following this counsel for the government, Captain Somers, and then counsel for the accused, Mr. Segal, may ask you questions.  Do you understand?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  Where were you stationed in February of this year?
A  Fort Bragg, North Carolina, sir.
Q  And what was your residence address?  Do you remember?
A  It's 334 North Dougherty.
Q  And is that Fort Bragg?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  Were you at home on the night of the 16-17 February 1970?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  Approximately what time did you go to bed that evening?
A  It was between ten and eleven, I think.  Probably right around ten-thirty.
Q  Did your wife retire at the same time?
A  No, sir, she stayed up and watched TV for a while.
Q  I see.  Where was your bedroom that you were sleeping in located with reference to the street?  Did it face the street?
A  No, sir.  Our bedroom is in the right front of the apartment, if you face the apartment and it faces the court, inside of the court.
Q  I see.  What were the weather conditions when you went to bed that evening?
A  If I remember correctly, it was raining sporadically off and on all night.
Q  All right.
A  I forget whether it was raining when I went to bed or not, but I know it rained sometime during the night.
Q  Did you check to see whether any windows in that bedroom were open at the time that you went to sleep that evening?
A  Yes, sir, we usually leave the window in all the rooms open because it's steam heated, and it's -- it get real hot and there's only one way we can regulate it, to open the windows.  There's no central heating.
Q  And then it is your impression that you had the window open that evening?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  Approximately how far open the window -- or the windows had been open?
A  Oh, probably just about all the way.  It's not a crack, it's usually half or all the way open.
Q  That would be more than one window?
A  That would be both windows, right, sir.
Q  Were you awakened at any time during the night of 16-17 February after you had gone to bed?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  Approximately when was that?
A  I would say anywhere from -- if I went to bed between ten and eleven -- I would say between twelve or 2400 hours and 0300 hours.
Q  Why were you awakened?
A  I heard what I thought was the next door neighbor's kids running up the path and the splashing of the feet in the water awoke me, and I just rolled over and didn't think anything and went back to sleep.  But my wife said, you know, later on when they -- the CID agent -- came by and asked me if we had heard anything unusual, I mentioned this, and I said of course, it was kids next door, and my wife said, no, they had already moved.  So then I didn't know who it could have been.
Q  Well, now would you repeat again what you thought you heard that evening?
A  I just heard some -- some footsteps and laughing, running through the water.  That's all.  It seem like there was a group, there was more than one, probably two or more, and they were running through the water, because you could hear their footsteps splashing and they were laughing, and that's all I heard.
Q  I see.  Were there any significant characteristics about the laughing that you noted?  Did it appear to be giggling, a hearty chuckle, or could you just describe it in any fashion?
A  It seemed to me just occasional giggling, you know, ha-ha-ha-ha, something like that.
Q  I see.  Do you remember whether anyone came to your apartment any time during the daylight hours of the 17th to inquire about any unusual incidents?
A  Right, the CID agents, two of them stopped by.  Let's see, it would have been late that evening, about seven o'clock, I guess right at supper time, and they asked us if we had heard anything unusual, and at that time I did mention that we heard, you know, some young teenagers, what I thought were teenagers, running back and forth in forth of the apartment, and of course it was probably just neighborhood kids next door.  But then my wife said, no, they had already moved before this time, and I said, well, I don't know who it could have been then.  But that's what we heard.
Q  Do you remember whether you indicated to the CID agents approximately what time you thought you heard those?
A  I think I did.  I think they asked me about that.
Q  Do you recall your reply?
A  No, not really.  I don't know -- I can't remember what I said.
Q  All right.  Do you think, Lieutenant Casper, that your recollection of the events that evening is fresher now in your memory, than it was on the date of the 17th of February?
A  No, sir, it's not fresher, because its been a while, and I just -- you know -- just try to -- the only thing I can remember is that they woke me up, and I usually go to bed between ten-thirty -- between ten -- eleven, and that's all.  Exactly what time they came by, I think it was between 2400 and 0300 because I was able to go back to sleep.  If it had been like four or five in the morning, I'd be up, because I have to get up about five-thirty or six.  I probably went back to sleep, so that's all I can remember.
Q  Right.  When the CID agents came to your door, did they ask you the questions, or did they ask you and your wife questions, both of you separately, or just how did they ask questions?
A  Sir, I think they asked us both together.
Q  Together?  And did your wife also volunteer answers?
A  What's that, sir?
Q  Did your wife also answer some of the questions?
A  Yes, sir, she did.  I think they -- they asked me some questions and my wife came in and they, you know, asked her approximately the same questions.
Q  I see.  Do you recall what answers your wife may have given to the questions, or anything that she may have volunteered during the questioning?
A  Well, I think my wife was, just from what I can remember, my wife was able to give them a little bit more, a little bit better information than I did because she, I think she said she had just gotten to sleep or wasn't asleep yet, where I was, they had woke me up, you know, and I just rolled over and went back to sleep.

COL ROCK:  I see.  Thank you, Lieutenant Casper.  I have no further questions.  I will now turn you over to counsel for the government for questions from his side.  Just a moment.

WITNESS:  All right, sir.

Questions by CPT SOMERS:
Q  Can you hear me, Lieutenant Casper?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  This is Captain Somers.  You say what you heard sounded like somebody running through water and laughing.  Is that correct?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  Could you tell from the voices if both male and female were present, or could you tell?
A  No, sir.  In all honesty I don't really say I could tell because, I mean, I read the paper and when I was at Fort Bragg I know there  was supposed to be two boys and a girl, and, and I could say yes, there was two boys and maybe a girl, but I don't really know.  I know there was laughing, and what I though -- I had preconceived idea that it was the next-door neighbor's girl and two of her friends that were boys, and I had this preconceived idea that it was so and so and her new boyfriend, but to actually say that they were, you know, female or male voices, no, I can't, because in this instance this neighborhood girl had already left, so I don't have any idea at all, and I hate to say who it was and wasn't.  I just don't know.  I just didn't pay any attention to it.
Q  You say you don't have any independent memory of recognizing which sex you were listening to?
A  Right, sir.  I don't know.  It was -- it was, seemed to be teenagers because you could tell by the sound of the laughing.  But whether it was all girls or all boys or one girl and two boys, two girls and one boy, I don't know sir.  I just really didn't pay that much attention to it at the time.
Q  Now you used the phrase "running back and forth."  Could you clarify that?  What direction were these people running in, if you could tell, and did they just run by once, or what do you mean by "running back and forth"?
A  All right, sir.  Our apartment faces a portion of the court that's between North Dougherty and -- when we were there -- Highway 87 -- no, what is it that runs out in front?  Route 80 that runs between --
Q  Are you talking about Bragg Boulevard?
A  Right.  Okay, we lived between North Dougherty and Bragg Boulevard, and the first time when I heard what seemed like they were running up from North Dougherty towards Bragg Boulevard.
Q  The first time?
A  And then it seems like they ran back the other way.  They were like coming up towards the apartment and then running back down.
Q  What was the time interval between the first time by and the second time?
A  Half hour, maybe.  I don't really, you know, because I was half asleep.
Q  Okay.  Now as I understand it, you say they were running toward Bragg Boulevard when you first heard them?
A  Right, sir.
Q  And then running back down towards North Dougherty when you next heard them?
A  Right, sir.
Q  When you were interviewed by the people you described as CID agents, could you have told them that you heard this at a period of time between 7:30 and nine in the evening?
A  I don't know.  I don't know.  I -- you know I'm telling, you know, remember what all the questions were, and what I remember saying.  I might have.  I thought that I heard it earlier when I was downstairs reading the paper between that time because that's when I was downstairs reading the paper.  Now, either I -- I don't know, I can't remember what I really said.
Q  It's possible then that you might have said between seven-thirty and nine?
A  Right, but I don't know for sure because I was awoken that night also between approximately 2400 hours and 0300 because I remember I went to bed and I was awoken.
Q  Why did you think that this was teenagers from next door?
A  Well, they usually would sometimes they, you know, like on a weekend night, they would stay up pretty late and they would on a weekend they would, you know, go over to somebody's house, go to this girl's house that just lived down from us, and they'd sit around and talk and laugh and giggle for, you know, a couple of hours or whatever.  And they would do this, you know, and then they would go to somebody else's house, and this is why I thought it was them.
Q  Lieutenant Casper, do you have somebody else there with you?  Right now?
A  My family.
Q  Are you conferring with someone as you answer these questions?
A  Sir, my wife is trying to tell me what happened.
Q  You are not letting that affect you, are you?
A  No, sir.
Q  Were there many children in that neighborhood?
A  There wasn't too many teenagers, sir.  It was mostly, now just from what I remember, is that there was mostly younger children like my children, you know, between maybe five and, you know, a couple of months.  That's all that lived in our court except for this one family, and if they moved a family moved in there with just young children too.
Q  Do you know the name of the family with teenager children?
A  I don't remember, sir, at all.  It was -- I think it was a Spanish name.  I don't really remember.

CPT SOMERS:  Excuse me just one moment, Lieutenant Casper.  Sir, I have no objection to his conferring with his wife.  Does the defense?


Q  Do you think your wife would know?  We have no objection to your getting the information from that source.
A  O-r-t-i-z, Ortiz.
Q  And the apartment number was?
A  Gray.  All right, the name was Gray.
Q  Gray?  And the apartment number is what?
A  I think it was -- it was either 332 or 330.  I think it was 332.
Q  Do you know what the man's rank was or what was his first name?
A  He was a Warrant Officer, I think, sir.
Q  Do you know his first name or his unit?
A  No, sir.  I don't have any idea.
Q  You've given me all the information that you can on Mr. Gray?
A  Well, there's only one other thing.  I -- I know his oldest daughter got married, and she was married to an officer with the 82d Airborne.  (Pause)  My wife said it was a Private with the 82d.

CPT SOMERS:  I think this takes care of my questioning for now.  I'll now turn the microphone over to Mr. Segal who is counsel for the defense.

MR. SEGAL:  I have no questions, sir.

CPT SOMERS:  Mr. Segal has no questions, Mr.  Casper.  I will turn the microphone over to Colonel Rock.

WITNESS:  All right, sir.

COL ROCK:  Lieutenant Casper, this is Colonel Rock.  You are advised that you will discuss your testimony with no person other than either counsel.  Do you understand this?  

WITNESS:  Yes, sir.

COL ROCK:  Thank you very much.  This will terminate the conversation.

WITNESS:  All right, sir.