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Civilian criminal charges dropped against soldier

Posted: November 22, 2012 - 1:10am

FAIRBANKS — Civilian criminal charges were dropped against a Fort Wainwright soldier accused of fatally shooting a fellow soldier in south Fairbanks this summer.

However, Fairbanks District Attorney Michael Gray told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner that the Army is holding Joshua Jordan Corona in pre-trial confinement pending a court martial.

Corona, 21, is accused of shooting 19-year-old Jawaun Collins at Corona’s Fairbanks apartment on July 22.

Fairbanks police said the incident was an accidental shooting followed by an attempted cover-up.

Corona was initially charged with second-degree murder, but the district attorney dismissed the charge.

Fairbanks District Attorney Michael Gray said the charges were dropped after Collins’ mother, who lives in Detroit, asked the state to dismiss the charge and let the Army court martial Corona.

“Given the circumstances, we thought that a just resolution,” Gray said in an email to the News-Miner on Monday.

Corona first told Fairbanks police that Collins accidentally shot himself in the head, according to a criminal complaint.

But after two other soldiers who witnessed the shooting came forward, Corona told police he shot Collins. He said he thought the gun was empty. He said he was drunk and had a hazy memory of what occurred, the complaint says.

Lt. Col. Bill Coppernoll, a spokesman for U.S. Army Alaska, said no date had been set for an Article 32 hearing, the military equivalent of a grand jury hearing.

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