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Ex-US soldier at Fort Stewart gets life in prison for stabbing fellow servicemember to death

Byron Booker, 29. stabbed 21-year-old Specialist Austin J. Hawk to death at Fort Stewart in 2020.
Credit: AP Photo/Stephen Morton, File

FORT STEWART, Ga. — A former U.S. soldier from Georgia who pleaded guilty last year to stabbing and killing a former soldier who'd reported his marijuana use to superiors will spend the rest of his life in prison, federal prosecutors announced Thursday.

Byron Booker, 29, stabbed 21-year-old Specialist Austin J. Hawk to death at Fort Stewart in 2020. The U.S. Attorney in Savannah said in a release that Booker, a former U.S. Army sergeant, went into Hawk's barracks room and "slashed and stabbed (him) repeatedly."

“Byron Booker squandered his own military career by illegally using drugs, and then murdered a former fellow soldier in cold blood in retaliation for that soldier honorably performing his duties,” said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia David H. Estes, himself a retired U.S. Army Colonel. “The sentence of life in prison with no parole will serve a measure of justice for Austin Hawk’s family, while affirming the outstanding investigative work that led to Booker’s conviction.”

RELATED: Former U.S. Army sergeant stabbed fellow soldier to death pleads guilty in Fort Stewart murder, DOJ says

A co-defendant in the case, 21-year-old Jordan Brown, has also pleaded guilty to plotting with Booker in the killing and has yet to be sentenced.

"As described in court testimony and in the plea agreements for the defendants, Booker, a former U.S. Army sergeant, admitted he and Brown discussed 'silencing' Specialist Austin J. Hawk, 21, at Fort Stewart Military Reservation in retaliation for Hawk reporting Brown to U.S. Army leadership for marijuana use," the release from the U.S. Attorney said.

With a life sentence, Booker will never leave prison as there is no parole in the federal prison system.


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