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Posts for August, 2009

Sailor Accused of Killing August Provost Commits Suicide

Jim Burroway

August 1st, 2009
Seaman August Provost

Seaman August Provost

The murder case of August Provost, the bisexual sailor who was found dead and burned at his guard post at Camp Pendleton, has taken a surprising turn. The suspect in the case was found dead in his cell yesterday afternoon:

Jonathan Campos, 32, of Lancaster, was found unresponsive in his cell at about 12:20 p.m., taken to the base hospital and declared dead about 1:15 p.m.,the Los Angeles Times reported.

Campos, a petty officer 2nd class, apparently asphyxiated himself with toilet paper. He had been on suicide watch in the brig and was last checked at 11:45 a.m., according to a Navy written statement.

A full statement from the Navy can be found here. Campos was charged with murder, drug possession, burglary and several other crimes. According to Navy investigators, Campos shot Provost, who was standing guard duty at the time, as Campos was trying to get onto the base to destroy property and attack other sailors. Navy investigators say there is no evidence that Provost’s death was the result of a hate crime.

Did DADT Kill August Provost?

Jim Burroway

July 6th, 2009
Seaman August Provost, in a photo posted to his Myspace page.

Seaman August Provost, in a photo posted to his Myspace page.

Questions remain over the murder of Seaman August Provost who was shot wile standing sentry duty sometime overnight Tuesday at Camp Pendleton Marince Corp Base. His body was found at the end of his shift at around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. It had been burned in an apparent attempt to conceal evidence.

Hus aunt, Rose Roy, of Beaumont, Texas, told CNN on Friday that Provost told her that he was being arassed because of his sexual orientation and race:

He was frustrated by it,” she said. She said she had advised him to speak to someone of higher rank, but said she wasn’t sure if he had done so.

“He went to serve and protect, but he didn’t get the protection,” she said. Brown said Thursday that he had no information on claims of harassment.

Asked whether she believed her nephew was killed because of race and sexual orientation, she said, “In my heart, I do.” She added, “it was like an execution-style killing, and nobody does that unless you have that kind of hatred in your heart.”

It’s unclear that Provost reported the harassment to higher-ups. Doing so would have revealed his sexual orientation to his superiors, which may trigger an investigation under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Such an investigation would then have led to Provost’s dismissal from the Navy.

Rep. Bob Filner (D-Chula Vista) has already asked the Department of Defense and the Marine Corps to investigate whether the killing at Camp Pendleton was a hate crime. So far, the Navy, which is leading the investigation, says they have no evidence that Provost’s murder was a hate crime. The Navy has one sailor in custody who “has been linked to the commission of this crime through both physical evidence and his own statement,” according to Navy spokesman Capt. Matt Brown.

A candlelight vigil is planned to honor Provost in front of Camp Pendleton this Friday, July 10 from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Live

Jim Burroway

July 1st, 2009

A sailor, August Provost of Houston, Texas, was found dead at Camp Pendleton near San Diego at about 3:30 a.m. Tuesday. Sources say he was shot and burned, which lead authorities to believe that it was foul play. A “person of interest” is in custody. Some believe it wasn’t an ordinary murder, but a hate crime:

Ben Gomez, head of the San Diego chapter of American Veterans for Equal Rights, a national advocacy group for gay and lesbian military personnel, said he and other local activists believe Provost’s death was a hate crime. Citing unnamed sources with access to a report on the seaman’s death, Gomez said Provost was killed during an argument with another sailor over the victim’s sexual orientation. On his MySpace page, Provost made references to same-sex dating and identified another Houston man as “the love of my life.”