Seaman Ethan Tucker, of Ludington, Mich., had been charged with several violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), including murder, involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, maiming, obstructing justice, making a false official statement and failure to obey a regulation, the Coast Guard Pacific Area Public Affairs said.
“On Nov. 18, Rear Adm. Bouboulis, acting as the Director of Logistics and cognizant convening authority, made the independent decision to release Seaman Ethen Tucker from pre-trial confinement in response to a complaint filed by the accused. Separately, on Nov. 15, Vice Adm. Linda Fagan made the decision (following a review of the Article 32 report and Staff Judge Advocate’s advice) to amend charges and resend those amended charges back to an Article 32 hearing scheduled for Dec. 3 in Alameda, California,” Coast Guard Senior Petty Officer NyxoLyno Cangemi told Fox News via email.
“Seaman Tucker was released from custody (Monday) and will be stationed at Coast Guard Base Alameda, California, where he will work in Base Logistics. There, he will perform duties such as working in the mail room, setting up equipment, stages and chairs for presentations, and other duties as necessary for the base,” Cangemi added.
Tucker was charged this summer after the branch conducted a seven-month investigation into the death of Seaman Ethan Kelch, 19, who was found unresponsive Jan. 27 along the shore of Amaknak Island. Kelch, a native of Virginia Beach, Va., was said to have been hit in the head before being left for dead in the water, according to Tucker's charging document.
Responders performed CPR, but Kelch was pronounced dead at a nearby clinic.
Tucker allegedly said he injured his hand when he punched a steel bulkhead upon learning about Kelch's death, the charging document stated.
Both seamen had been assigned to the Coast Guard Cutter Munro, which had been docked in Dutch Harbor for repairs.
Cangemi added: “Another Article 32 hearing has been tentatively scheduled for Dec. 3, 2019, at Base Alameda. After that hearing, it will be approximately 4-6 weeks before the convening authority decides whether or not to take this matter to a court martial.”
An Article 32 hearing determines if there will be a court-martial trial.
If he's found guilty, Tucker could face life in prison, dishonorable discharge from the military and forfeiture of all his pay and allowances.