Andrew Paul Witt - Air Force Member on Death Row for 2004 Double Homicide

Started by Hutchsmash, September 16, 2008, 10:14:07 PM

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Hutchsmash

I've been posting on this forum for just about a month now and I wanted to share with all of you the incident that made me become more active in the death penalty debate. 

The morning of July 5, 2004 I was woken up by a phone call by my friend Jason Kings wife, Paige.  She told me that Jason had been seriously hurt the night before and that she needed me to come to the hospital.  It was when I arrived at the hospital that I found out what happened that night.  Here is a news article about this incident that took to awesome people out of my life and almost took my best friend.

Accused airman faces hearing


11/17/04
By JON SUGGS
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Andrew Paul Witt 
Witt alleged to have stabbed couple to death, wounded another

MACON - The Article 32 hearing began Monday for a Robins Air Force Base airman accused of slaying two and injuring another this summer.

Senior Airman Andrew Paul Witt is charged with two counts of premeditated murder and one count of attempted murder for the July 5 deaths of Senior Airman Andrew Schliepsiek and his wife, Jamie, and the wounding of Senior Airman Jason King.

King was the first witness called to testify for the government's case. He began by relating the relationship between the Schliepsieks and his family. He met Andy Schliepsiek back in April and the two quickly became friends. King's wife, Page, also quickly befriended Jamie, King said, and the two regularly went shopping together, usually with the Kings' daughter, 3-year- old Ramsey, who took to the Schliepsieks very quickly.

King did not meet Witt, another friend of Schliepsiek, until July 3. That evening, the two couples were gathered at the Kings' on-base home on Sergeants Drive when Schliepsiek received a call from Witt, who asked if he could come over. King said OK, but retired shortly after Witt's arrival, as he had a headache.

He only spent about 30 minutes in Witt's company.

The next day, July 4, the two couples gathered again at the Kings in the afternoon, where they grilled ribs and drank beers and daiquiris, celebrating Independence Day.

Late that night, after Page had gone to bed, Jamie related how, the night before, the Schliepsieks went back to their home a couple of blocks away on Fort Valley Street.

Jamie said after Andy went to bed, Witt made a pass at her: He tried to kiss her, and she pushed him away.

Upon hearing this that next day, Andy "was not pleased," King said.

A series of cell phone calls began to and from Witt, with both the Schliepsieks and King talking to him.

Witt was apologetic, King said, and told him he and Andy should come to his off-base home and sort him out.

"He said we should drive over there and kick his ...," King recalled.

Instead, shortly before 4 a.m., the three drove over to the Schliepsieks' home, probably to get cigarettes, King said.

As they entered the house, King was on his cell phone with a friend of his who lived in Virginia. Jamie asked to talk to him, and King gave her the phone. She walked into the bedroom, and King followed because she had his phone, he said.

They then heard conversation from the living room, King said. He remembered Andy saying something like, "What are you doing in my house?" Then Witt came to the bedroom door. He was dressed in full military BDUs - camouflaged from boots to hat.

King said Witt looked into the bedroom and said, "Oh, good. You're here, too."

He then went back into the living room with Andy.

King ended the call to his friend and followed the two into the room. They were struggling when he entered, and Witt "seemed to be getting the better of Andy," King said.

King approached and put Witt into a headlock and tried to talk to him.

"I said, 'Dude, why don't you just leave? Get out,'" King said.

As he did so, he said Witt hit him in the stomach.

He thought it was a punch, but as he moved away he said if felt "something was weird."

He remembered Jamie yelling, "My god! You're bleeding!"

King left the home through the kitchen door, with the intent of getting help.

He was struck several times in the back as he did so.

He made his way down the street and stopped at the only house with a light on, the 10th Street home of Tech Sgt. Jimmy Free.

Free called 911, and King was taken to the hospital.

He had a puncture wound just below his heart, three other stab wounds in his back and a laceration on one arm.

Following emergency surgery, King's initial stay lasted 14 days. He would later return for a 15-day stay, after fluid built up in his chest and had a staph infection. In October he returned again for four days, as doctors removed a colostomy bag inserted during the first surgery.

Although King's testimony was the longest Monday, it was not the most emotional.

Page King tearfully recalled in testimony that the doctor said it was "a miracle" he made it to the hospital.

At one point, remembering the Schliepsieks, she had to pause and collect herself before continuing.

Others who testified included Free and two security forces members who responded to the scene.

Staff Sgt. Perry Grimme and Tech Sgt. Michael Gonzales were the two who cleared the Schliepsiek home after the incident. On the stand, both described moving through the house, looking for a suspect and finding the bodies of Andy and Jamie Schliepsiek in the living room and bedroom, respectively.

Pictures of the crime scene, including both bodies, were shown during testimony by the next witness, Special Agent Alexander Wildes with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.

Another OSI officer, Special Agent Lamar E. Cromwell, testified next. It was Cromwell, with other agents, who apprehended Witt as he drove back to the crime scene with a friend.

The officer described how, under questioning, Witt first denied even being on base during the time when the crime occurred. Confronted with gate video that showed him entering the base at 1:45 a.m., Witt admitted being on base but denied being near the scene.

Eventually, he admitted to the crimes, Cromwell said, in both the verbal interview and a written statement.

That included how he attacked King, and his description closely matched King's account. He also told how he had kicked in the locked bedroom door to get to Jamie and kill her, then returned to the living room, where Andy lay prone from his earlier attack.

"He stated that he stabbed him in the heart, he put it, 'to finish him off,'" Cromwell said.

Cromwell read from the statement how Witt said he was not insane at the time.

"Basically, he said he let go and did these things," Cromwell said.

He described it as being in "a euphoric state or a drunken state," Cromwell said.

Earlier in the Article 32 hearing, Maj. Vance Spath, chief circuit trial counsel for the Air Force, said a sanity board found no evidence Witt was insane at the time of the attacks.

Spath is conducting the case with the assistance of Capt. Scott Williams of the 78th Air Base Wing Office of the Staff Judge Advocate at Robins.

Witt is represented by civilian defense attorney Frank Spinner of Colorado Springs, Colo.; Capt. Darren Johnson of the Area Defense Counsel at Robins and Capt. Doug Rawald, circuit defense counsel from Bolling Air Force Base. Col. Mary Boone, a chief military judge from Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, is the investigating officer in the Article 32 hearing, which is the preliminary evidence hearing under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Boone will make a recommendation to base commander Col. Greg Patterson, who will decided whether to recommend that Warner Robins Air Logistics Center commander Maj. Gen. Mike Collings convene a general court martial for Witt.

The hearing, which is being held at Bibb County Courthouse, was scheduled to continue with another full day of presentations Tuesday.

http://news.mywebpal.com/partners/963/public/news589731.html



"How come life in prison doesn't mean life? Until it does, we're not ready to do away with the death penalty. Stop thinking in terms of "punishment" for a minute and think in terms of safeguarding innocent people from incorrigible murderers."

JESSE VENTURA, I Ain't Got Time to Bleed

Hutchsmash

To Continue....

In his Article 32 hearing it was decieded  that there was enough evidence to charge him with two counts of premeditated murder, and one count of attempted premeditated murder.  I was out of Robins by the time the actual trial took place, I was very upset to have missed it.  At the end however, we all saw justice served for Andy, Jamie and Jason.

Airman sentenced to death

by Lanorris Askew
78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

10/13/2005 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. (AFPN) -- The Airman here who was recently found guilty of two specifications of premeditated murder and one specification of attempted premeditated murder, has been sentenced to death by a military panel.

Senior Airman Andrew Paul Witt, 23, is now the only Airman to sit on death row.

Airman Witt's death sentence is the first Air Force death sentence since the United States vs. Jose Simoy in 1990, which on appeal, the death penalty was set aside and Mr. Simoy is currently serving life in prison.

Airman Witt is guilty of two specifications of premeditated murder in the July 5, 2004, stabbing deaths of Senior Airman Andrew Schliepsiek and his wife, Jamie.

He was also found guilty Oct. 5 of one specification of attempted premeditated murder in the stabbing attack of then-Senior Airman Jason King.

By the nature of the findings, premeditated murder carries a punishment of a mandatory life sentence, but a unanimous vote by the jury sentenced Airman Witt to death, said Col. Jeff Robb, Warner Robins Air Logistics Center staff judge advocate.

Maj. Vance Spath, chief circuit trial counsel with the U.S. Air Force Eastern Judicial Circuit at Bolling Air Force Base, D.C., said this was the first death penalty case he has tried, and it has been an emotional time.

"My team has been away from home for a long time," he said. "We've been working down here for the last few months exclusively, and it's a relief to be finished, a relief to go home, and it feels good to have this case finished for the Air Force."

Major Spath said he believes whatever the jury gave Airman Witt would have been a just sentence, but he believes justice has definitely been served.

Airman Witt will not be executed before the expiration of all appellate avenues, which could take years, Colonel Robb said.

"Once the trial is complete, the center commander (Maj. Gen. Michael A. Collings) will have a chance to take action on the case," he said. "After that action (which is to either approve or disapprove the sentence), the appeals process can begin."

That process begins with an automatic appeal to the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals, a military court. Appeals from there would go to the Court of Appeals for Armed Forces, which is a civilian court. Any further appeals would go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"A review by the Supreme Court is not mandatory," the colonel said. "At the conclusion of all appeals the president of the United States still has a pardoning power."

The sentence followed a week of testimony from family and friends of the victims who urged the all-officer panel to sentence Airman Witt to death. Their statements were followed by pleas from the convicted Airman's family and friends to spare his life.

While the fathers of the victims described the pain they still endure over the loss of their children, the parents of Airman Witt tried to paint a picture of their son that many have not seen.

Melanie Pehling, Airman Witt's mother, said her son is a not an evil person and was a joy to bring up.

"We are asking for mercy because I know what's underneath," she said. "I know he has more to offer than what happened on July 5, 2004."

Terry Witt, Airman Witt's father, described him as loving and compassionate, and said his son taught him the meaning of unconditional love.

After testimony from both sides, Airman Witt took the stand and gave an unsworn statement in which he apologized for his crime.

"To the families, to the Schliepsieks and Bielenbergs, I am so sorry from the bottom of my being," he said as he turned to face the families. "I'm so sorry I took your son and your daughter away from you, and also, to Mr. King, I'm so sorry for hurting you."

The Airman also submitted a written statement where he took responsibility for his actions but asked the jury to spare his life.

"I would like to apologize again to the Schliepsieks, the Bielenbergs, the Kings, my family, and the Air Force for my actions," he wrote. "My life has changed dramatically since that night, and I plan to continue to make changes. I want you to know that I am firmly resolved to lead a productive life in the service of others and will not wander from this path if given the chance. Please allow me to live so that I can do this. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to share my thoughts with you."

The Airman also discussed his Air Force career.

"I regret losing my focus on the Air Force mission -- looking back, I do truly love the Air Force, and I have been proud to wear the uniform," he wrote. "I understand that my actions mean that I will never wear it again once this trial is over, and I am sorry for that as well. I am sorry for the discredit I have brought upon the Air Force and the negative attention I have brought to Robins Air Force Base." (Courtesy of Air Force Materiel Command News Service)

http://www.af.mil/news/story_print.asp?id=123012115

Jason is now a NCO stationed in Florida and his wife Paige is a teacher in the local school district.  I still look back to that time and wonder how different things might have been if I had gone over to Jason's house that night.  I was single at the time and wanted to hang out with my single friends and not my married ones.  Our lives move on and so does Witt's, hopefully I will get to see the day when he is put down. 


"How come life in prison doesn't mean life? Until it does, we're not ready to do away with the death penalty. Stop thinking in terms of "punishment" for a minute and think in terms of safeguarding innocent people from incorrigible murderers."

JESSE VENTURA, I Ain't Got Time to Bleed

63Wildcat

"..hopefully I will get to see the day when he is put down."

I sincerely doubt that he will ever see it happen. The last military prisoner to be executed was John Bennet in 1961. It takes the Presidents signature to have it done. I sincerely doubt that it will happen as it seems to me that any sitting President doesn't have the balls to do it. He'll just sit on Death Row and rot like the rest of them are.  >:( 
"..the death of any public servant or innocent is a tragedy... the death of a murderer is a mere statistic..."  -63Wildcat

AS OF TOMORROW I'M TURNING GRAVITY OFF...

Granny B

Hutch,

Sorry I missed this post when it first occurred.  We were trying to get ready for all the hearings at the time, so I missed a lot of posts and am still trying to catch up on all the reading on the forum.

When you talked about this case in the Cal Colburn Brown thread I looked it up and have now read it.

That POS Witt's statement, where he described it as being in "a euphoric state or a drunken state,"  tells me he enjoyed the experience.    No way do I believe his letter to the family and judge to be anything other than trying to save his sorry life from execution for his premediatated crime.

I can see from your posts, that you are still having a problem with survivor guilt.

I am very sorry for the tragic loss of your friends.   :-* :-*

Best to you. :-*

Grandmother of Brandon
" Closure? Closure is a misused word in the English language.  There is no such thing as closure for the family of a murder victim.  There will never be any closure for the death of our loved ones until we are dead ourselves.  The families have a lifetime sentence of anguish and sadness." 
Susan Levy

vikkiw47

Hutch , im so sorry for your loss of your friends, my heart aches for you and there familys. I read your post in the cal brown thread and it touched my heart. I as GOB i did not think his statement to the familys was sincere, but im not a expert and i have trust issues with these crimmals for sure. But i trust Gob , for she knows way more than i ever could. I hope and pray the familys will someday have justice for what he has done to them as well as you.  :-*
Justice is not about bringing back the dead. It is not about revenge either. Justice is about enforcing consequences for one's own actions to endorse personal responsibility. We cannot expect anyone to take responsibility for their own actions if these consequences are not enforced in full.

Hutchsmash

Yes GoB I do.  Jason called me earlier that night and invited me over, but I was single at the time and decided to spend the fourth out with my single friends in Macon instead of on base with my married friends.  After the attack all I could think about is what would have happened if I had been there.  I'm a fairly intimidating fellow at 6'3" and 280lbs people tend to not try stuff with me.  I wracked my self wondering if he would have just stayed in the bushes or if I would have ended up with Andy and Jamie or in a hopital room next to Jason. 

As far as his statement, it was complete BS.  Take a look at his mugshot at the site below, this was taken at the Houston County jail later in the afternoon of the day he commited these acts.

http://news.mywebpal.com/partners/963/public/news589731.html

All through his trial he sat there  showing no emotion, no remorse.

Thank you all for your kind words, I've sent the link to this page to Jason and hopefully he will post sometime. 



"How come life in prison doesn't mean life? Until it does, we're not ready to do away with the death penalty. Stop thinking in terms of "punishment" for a minute and think in terms of safeguarding innocent people from incorrigible murderers."

JESSE VENTURA, I Ain't Got Time to Bleed

Granny B


Yes GoB I do.  Jason called me earlier that night and invited me over, but I was single at the time and decided to spend the fourth out with my single friends in Macon instead of on base with my married friends.  After the attack all I could think about is what would have happened if I had been there.  I'm a fairly intimidating fellow at 6'3" and 280lbs people tend to not try stuff with me.  I wracked my self wondering if he would have just stayed in the bushes or if I would have ended up with Andy and Jamie or in a hopital room next to Jason. 

As far as his statement, it was complete BS.  Take a look at his mugshot at the site below, this was taken at the Houston County jail later in the afternoon of the day he commited these acts.

http://news.mywebpal.com/partners/963/public/news589731.html

All through his trial he sat there  showing no emotion, no remorse.

Thank you all for your kind words, I've sent the link to this page to Jason and hopefully he will post sometime. 


He did not look like he had a mark on him from attacking 3 people!

Hutch, try to quit beating yourself up over this.  Chances are that you would have wound up in the hospital too or worse, dead.  That guy was determined to hurt, maim, and or kill.  Mostly kill from the looks of everything in the article.  Had you been there too, there was no guarantee you could have changed a thing, other than to become a casualty of a murderer too.

We have spent years second guessing ourselves in our case and agonizing over the choices that were made, but unfortunately it never changed the outcome. 

You need to know that the guillt is not yours to bear, it is Witt's.  You were forever scarred by what happened.  You will grieve for your friends for the rest of your life.  This whole thing has left you somewhat, not entirely emotionally well since the murders.

I know you said you don't believe, but I believe for you, so I will say it for you,  Thank God you were not there that night.  You are still alive and physically unharmed.  For that I am thankful, my friend.  :-* :-* :-*
" Closure? Closure is a misused word in the English language.  There is no such thing as closure for the family of a murder victim.  There will never be any closure for the death of our loved ones until we are dead ourselves.  The families have a lifetime sentence of anguish and sadness." 
Susan Levy

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