Sergeant Guilty in Fort Bragg Shooting

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FORT BRAGG, North Carolina: After just two hours of deliberations, a military jury unanimously convicted Army sergeant William Kreutzer of premeditated murder in a sniper attack last October that killed one person and wounded 18 others. Kreutzer, who was also found guilty on 18 counts of attempted murder, could now face the death penalty. During the trial, Fort Bragg's chief psychiatrist testified that Kreutzer suffered from a personality disorder that began when he was an adolescent and now makes him chronically depressed and paranoid. "This was a man who for quite a while was coming unglued," reports TIME's Lisa Towle. "As his actions and pleas for help went ignored, he set himself on a path of destruction. And Kreutzer's family accused the military of ignoring all the obvious signs of mental distress." But the prosecution argued that Kreutzer's threats toward fellow soldiers demonstrated that his actions were carefully planned and vengeful. Captain Paul Barden told jurors in closing arguments that Kreutzer had even selected special bullets knowing they would cause more pain. There is also speculation, Towle says, that Kreutzer might have wanted to get back at soldiers who had picked on him in his three years of service, calling him names, dumping sand in his boots and tripping him. "He didn't associate with many people and spent all his time cleaning his guns," she says. "Kreutzer had a lifelong passion for the military." Kreutzer now faces two more rounds of voting by the military jury. Both must be unanimous for a death sentence, or Kreutzer will automatically be sentenced to life imprisonment. Given the trial's brevity a sentence may come within the next three days. Robertson Barrett