Philadelphia police charge soldier with staging shooting to avoid tour of duty in Iraq
Friday, December 17th 2004, 6:54 am
News On 6
PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ A soldier who allegedly had a relative shoot him so he wouldn't have to return to Iraq could face military discipline.
Army Spc. Marquise J. Roberts, of Hinesville, Ga., suffered a minor wound Tuesday to his left leg from a .22-caliber pistol, police said. He was treated at a hospital, then arrested after he and a relative allegedly admitted making up a story about the shooting.
After giving differing accounts, ``they just broke down and confessed that they concocted the whole story so he didn't have to go back to the war,'' police Lt. James Clark said Thursday.
Police charged Roberts with filing a false report and charged a cousin, Roland Fuller, with aggravated assault and other charges.
Roberts could face military discipline if the charges prove true, said Lt. Col. Cliff Kent, a spokesman for the Army's 3rd Infantry Division, but the civilian case probably would proceed first.
Roberts, who was visiting family in Philadelphia, initially claimed he was shot during an attempted robbery, but Fuller had said the incident occurred at another location during an argument, according to Clark.
Roberts, 23, was on a two-week leave from the 3rd Infantry Division, which led the assault on Baghdad in 2003. He had been scheduled to return this week to Fort Stewart, Ga., and to return to Iraq within the next few months. The division has been home since the summer of 2003.
Police said Roberts, a supply specialist who had spent seven months in Iraq, was distraught about having to return to combat duty and wanted to stay with his family.