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Soldier's murder court-martial delayed
Sgt Jospeh Bozicevich
Sgt. Jospeh Bozicevich - photo by File photo
A 3rd Infantry Division soldier accused of shooting and killing his squad leader and a fellow team leader in Iraq in 2008 will not face court martial until Feb. 7, 2011.
A request to delay the court martial by nearly a year was granted Tuesday during a motion hearing for Sgt. Joseph Bozicevich. Motion hearings will be held June 16, 17 and 18.
Bozicevich is charged with two counts of pre-meditated murder in the deaths of Staff
Sgt. Darris Dawson, 24, of Pensacola, Fla., and Sgt. Wesley Durbin,
26, of Dallas, Texas, on Sept. 14, 2008, while deployed to a base south of Baghdad, Iraq. All three soldiers were assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd ID.
Bozicevich, 40, of Minneapolis, Minn., is currently being held at the Liberty County Jail.
“It’s devastating,” said Carole Durbin, Wesley Durbin’s mother. Durbin said her son was “brutally murdered” nearly two years ago and a long, drawn out trial process is “emotionally and financially draining,” for her family.
“We thought they would push it from June to October,” said Randy Durbin, Durbin’s father.
The Durbins said they have attended every hearing to date, except for a motion hearing held last month.
Randy Durbin had hoped the trial would begin and end sooner.
“I think it would help bring closure,” he said.
“All the rights are for the accused,” Carole Durbin said, shaking her head in frustration.
Bozicevich’s civilian defense attorney, Charles Gittins of Middletown, Va., filed a continuance in the case. Gittins wanted the trial start delayed until March 21, 2011, giving the defense’s mitigation expert more time to develop evidence and witnesses. Gittins said Miller will need up to 1,500 hours to work on the case.
 “It will take him until August or November (to work through evidence),” he said. “I don’t think it’s reasonable to get the case ready for trial on 11 October.”
 Gittins also opposed a fall start date because the trial would then be “interrupted” by the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, he said.
Government attorneys told the military judge, Col. Tara Osborn, they preferred an October start date. It would give the defense expert a “reasonable” amount of time to prepare for trial, they said.
In addition, government lawyers informed Osborn that building 705 on Fort Stewart will be used as a courtroom for the Bozicevich court martial. Government counsel said once the 1st Brigade redeploys this October, the parking at building 705 will fill up and could cause a disruption in trial proceedings. The judge disagreed.
Osborn heard three more motions which she took under advisement but did not rule on.
The defense filed a motion asking the court to appoint Bozicevich an additional defense attorney; one who is “experienced” in death penalty cases. Gittins told Osborn his client has a right to “learned counsel.” This is the first death penalty case Bozicevich’s civilian defense attorney has ever tried. However, Gittins does not intend to withdraw from the case despite his lack of capital case experience.
Government lawyers also filed a motion to add three people to the standard court martial’s panel (jury) of nine, as 12 people sit on capital case panels. 
Last, the defense filed a motion questioning if there were “aggravating circumstances” in the case and whether or not the case should be referred as a general court martial or as a capital case.
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