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Fired Marine lieutenant colonel accused of lying to investigators
The Marine lieutenant colonel who was removed from command of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May is accused of lying to investigators looking into allegations of misconduct, according to a copy of his charge sheet provided to Task & Purpose on Monday.
1st Marine Division first started looking into allegations in April that Lt. Francisco Zavala had been physically and verbally abusive to his wife, who had detailed multiple instances of domestic abuse over the course of their marriage in court documents. She also filed a report with the family advocacy program, which offers counseling services to military spouses.
In addition to being charged with multiple instances of abuse, Zavala also faces charges of lying to a military investigator who was looking into those incidents, according to the charge sheet, which said that Zavala allegedly made a false official statement to a colonel (whose name is redacted) "with intent to deceive" in April that "he had never gotten physical" with his wife.
He was charged on August 8, the document says.
Zavala is also charged with conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, for allegedly engaging "in harassment, and verbal, psychological, and emotional abuse" of his wife (Task & Purpose does not name victims of domestic violence).
According to the charge sheet, Zavala allegedly hit his wife with a backpack and threw his wedding ring at her in June. He is also accused of striking her in September, holding her in a bear hug in October, and in December, striking her in the face and slamming her against a wall.
In her sworn statement, Zavala's wife claimed he had struck her in the face on Dec. 23, before taking away her phone when she threatened to call 911, she wrote.
"When he let go of me I ran out of the room and across the street to the neighbor's house, who I barely knew, where I stayed overnight," she continued. Once at the neighbor's home, she wrote that she "hesitated to call the police" since she was "embarrassed, terrified, and in shock."
Zavala was also accused of "willfully and wrongfully" destroying his wife's cell phone in October, according to the charge sheet. His wife claimed in her statement he had slammed both of their iPhones to the ground "in a rage."
Zavala faces a preliminary Article 32 hearing in early October, which will determine whether he will face court-martial. He denies any wrongdoing.
During a brief telephone interview in May, Zavala told Task & Purpose that all the allegations against him were "false," but declined to answer further questions, citing an ongoing military investigation.
"As a professional, my responsibility [is to] allow the investigation to go on and in time, I'm fairly confident I'll be exonerated of everything that's being alleged against me," he said. Zavala did not respond when Task & Purpose reached out for comment on the charges last week.
In a filing in his divorce case on June 12, Zavala accused his wife of attacking him on Dec. 23, though he did not address other incidents mentioned in the charge sheet.
You can view the charge sheet below:
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It wasn't until more than two weeks later authorities finally caught up to Michael Brown at his mom's home, which was the scene of the crime.
Brown stuffed himself into a tight spot in his camper during an hours-long search of the vehicle on Nov. 10, according to NBC affiliate WSLS in Virginia. A day earlier, cops said Brown fatally shot his mother's boyfriend, Rodney Brown. The AWOL Marine remained on the lam until Nov. 27, where he was finally apprehended without incident.
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Machinist's Mate Auxiliary Fireman Gabriel Antonio Romero of San Antonio, an armed watch-stander on the attack submarine USS Columbia, shot three civilian workers Dec. 4 and then turned a gun on himself while the sub rested in dry dock 2 for a major overhaul, the Navy said.
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"How do they smell to you, soldier?" Kurtz asks.
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