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Airman convicted of negligent homicide

Posted 3/23/2011   Updated 3/23/2011 Email story   Print story


by 375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

3/23/2011 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill.  -- The Air Force conducted General Court Martial proceedings March 15 against Airman First Class Kevin Books, 20, and found him guilty of negligent homicide among other charges, and sentenced him to 18 months confinement for the role he played in a June 23 single vehicle crash that killed Airman First Class Jamarrio Beathea,21.

In addition to the negligent homicide charge, Airman Books pled guilty to underage drinking and was found guilty of drunken operation of a vehicle and reckless operation of a vehicle resulting in injury to others. His sentence includes a reduction of rank to Airman Basic, total forfeitures of all pay and allowances and a Bad Conduct Discharge.

Airman Books was the driver of a 2007 Pontiac G5 heading on the westbound I-64 exit ramp to Illinois Route 159 in St. Clair County, and according to the Illinois State Police, was driving so fast that he couldn't make the curve at the exit ramp, lost control and the car ran off the road, down an embankment and flipped over several times.

Airman Books, and two other passengers--Airmen First Class Felicia Nieves and Tyre Leslie-- sustained minor injuries. All four were wearing seatbelts.

Illinois State Police conducted an extensive investigation and the St. Clair County State's Attorney deferred jurisdiction to the Air Force in October and charges were preferred on Dec. 2. He was charged with underage drinking, drunken operation of a vehicle, reckless operation of a vehicle resulting in injury to others, negligent homicide and involuntary manslaughter-of which he was acquitted.

The General Court Martial convened March 15 with an eight-member jury panel made up of officers. During trial, evidence was presented that Airman Books had a blood alcohol level between .109 and .137 on the night of the crash. Additionally, crash reconstruction experts indicated that evidence suggested Airman Books was traveling in excess of 100 mph.

Multiple civilian witnesses testified that Airman Books was driving at an excessive rate of speed on I- 64 prior to the crash and that he attempted to exit past the ramp and flipped his car across the drainage area - landing on the on-ramp from Illinois Route 159.

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