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Murdered Marine Identified.....

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  • Murdered Marine Identified.....

    Drugs and money

    Officials say stolen profits may have led to Pendleton Marine’s death
    By Chelsea J. Carter - The Associated Press
    Posted : August 04, 2008

    SAN DIEGO — A dispute over stolen drug money appears to be the motive for the murder of a Camp Pendleton Marine allegedly committed by two comrades, prosecutors say.
    The July 24 announcement came a day before Lance Cpl. Christian William Carney and Pfc. Alvin Reed Lovely were scheduled to be arraigned in Orange County Superior Court on charges related to the death of Pfc. Stephen Serrano, whose body — in desert fatigues and boots — was found in a ditch in San Clemente.
    Carney, 21, and Lovely, 20, were indicted in early July on one count each of murder and making a criminal threat. They also face a sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm. Carney also faces a charge of attempting to dissuade a witness.
    Both men have pleaded not guilty.
    Carney, of Suffolk, N.Y., was put in the brig at Camp Pendleton on unrelated drug-dealing charges after posting $1 million bond for his release from the Orange County jail, Marine spokesman 1st Lt. Curtis Williamson said. Carney, an Iraq war veteran, was to be transferred to Orange County for arraignment. He is accused of dealing Ecstasy and cocaine on the base, according to a statement released by Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
    Lovely, of Dallas, is being held at the Orange County jail in lieu of $1 million bail. At the time of his arrest, he was listed by the Corps as being on unauthorized absence, a step before being declared a deserter, Williamson said.
    Carney is assigned to Headquarters Battalion, 5th Marines; Lovely and Serrano were assigned to 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, Williamson said.
    The body of Serrano, 21, of Sacramento, was found by a jogger on May 15, two days after police believe Serrano was shot.
    It was not clear whether Carney and Lovely had been assigned defense attorneys in advance of their pending arraignment. A message left with the Orange County public defender’s office was not immediately returned, and the Marine Corps did not make Carney available for comment.
    Prosecutors say events that led to the murder began to unfold on May 9, when Carney drove from Camp Pendleton to Texas to pick up Lovely, who had gone home to visit family. While he was gone, Serrano and an unidentified Marine allegedly broke into Carney’s room and stole drug money, according to a written statement by the district attorney’s office.
    On May 13, when Carney and Lovely returned to the base, an unidentified Marine told Carney he claimed to have witnessed a mutual friend and another man breaking into his room.
    Later that day, Carney and Lovely allegedly met the friend, identified in court papers only as John Doe, and drove him from base to a secluded location in San Clemente. According to prosecutors, the two Marines put a gun to the man’s head and threatened to shoot him if he did not identify his alleged accomplice in the burglary.
    Prosecutors say the man identified Serrano.
    They returned to the base and then allegedly asked Serrano to meet them. Prosecutors say they then drove Serrano to San Clemente, shot him once in the head and three times in the back.
    Prosecutors say after the murder, Carney told the friend he had threatened to not say anything about Serrano’s murder.
    All three Marines were assigned to the 1st Marine Division.
    Serrano was buried May 27 in a funeral that was kept private because of safety concerns, according to a television report by KCRA TV-3 in Sacramento.
    Serrano, who was married and had a child, was expected to visit his family in the Sacramento area when he turned up missing, according to relatives. His mother, Christl McKenney, told a local TV station that she suspected something was wrong after her son’s wife called asking if he was there.
    “Right then I knew, my heart dropped, and I knew, I knew something was wrong,” McKenney said in a CBS-13 broadcast May 23.
    “I would accept overseas, dying for what he believed ... but to happen here, I can’t accept that,” said Reggie Serrano, the Marine’s father and himself a former Marine.
    In another television interview, McKenney hinted that there may have been problems in Serrano’s unit, though she didn’t elaborate.
    “There was a lot of troubled young men in that unit,” McKenney told KCRA TV-3. “[Serrano] didn’t want to be the Marine they were.”
    Serrano’s unit, 2/5, deployed in early May as part of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which left San Diego for a scheduled deployment with the Peleliu Expeditionary Strike Group.
    Lovely was reported as UA at the time, Marine officials said, but it wasn’t clear why Serrano was not with the unit. The MEU was in the Persian Gulf as of July 10, according to photographs released by the Navy.
    Staff writer Dan Lamothe contributed to this report

    ...And shephards we shall be. For thee my lord, for thee. Power hath descended forth from thy hand. That our feet may swiftly carry out thy command. So we shall flow a river forth to thee. And teeming with souls shall it ever be. E Nomini Patri, E Fili, E Spiritu Sancti.

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