Coast Guardsman accused of killing shipmate heading to court martial in 2020

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22251520

A seaman with the U.S. Coast Guard will face a court martial on murder and other charges relating to the death of a fellow seaman in Alaska.

Ethan Tucker is charged with the January death of 19-year-old Seaman Ethan Kelch of Virginia Beach, Virginia, according to the Associated Press.

Prosecutors allege the 21-year-old Tucker, of Ludington, Michigan, beat Kelch and left him in frigid water, where he drowned.

The court martial is expected to take place in 2020.

Charges against Tucker include involuntary manslaughter and making a false official statement. The court martial decision was made Dec. 23, AP reports.

A search was launched for Kelch when he failed to return Jan. 26 from liberty. He was found unresponsive the next day along shore and pronounced dead at a clinic, according to AP. During an October hearing, a lawyer for Tucker said a bystander took video that night showing Tucker's efforts to get Kelch out of the water. Henderson has said the videos also show Kelch had repeatedly tried to go into the water.

The charging document still states that Tucker showed a wanton disregard for human life when he caused blunt force trauma to Kelch's head and left him in water. The charges also say Tucker lied when he said he injured his hand by punching a steel bulkhead.

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