The weekend slaying of two Fort Lewis soldiers by a fellow soldier brings the latest home front murder toll into double digits. Since the start of the war in Iraq in 2003, there have been at least ten slayings on Western Washington soil involving active troops or veterans of Iraq. The body count includes six wives, a girlfriend, and one child; five other children have lost one or both parents to death or imprisonment. Also, at least three servicemen have committed suicide -- two of them after killing their wife or girlfriend. Ten of the murders and suicides involved soldiers from Fort Lewis. So far, five have been sent to prison.
Besides the deaths detailed in this SW story, Pvt. Anthony Cruse, 19, is charged with the June, 2007 stabbing death of Pvt. Timothy Crislip, 22, outside a Fort Lewis barracks.
The latest murder is the most gruesome. Sweet-faced and bespectacled Spc. Ivette Gonzalez Davila, 22, a member of Fort Lewis' I Corps color guard, yesterday was accused of shooting and then pouring acid on the faces of Timothy Miller, 27, and Randi Miller, 25, a military couple stationed at the fort, then kidnapping their child. Court papers show Davila thought Randi Miller was in a relationship with a fourth soldier, Davila's ex-boyfriend -- driving her to kill both Randi and her husband in a jealous rage.
Another Fort Lewis soldier is charged with murder in Iraq. Corporal Timothy Ayers, 21, is accused of shooting his platoon sergeant, David A. Cooper Jr., 36, in September last year. It may have been accidental -- Ayers pointed his gun at Cooper to show him he had just cleaned it, and, forgetting he had also just reloaded it, pulled the trigger, fatally wounding his sergeant.