The soldier who was found guilty of assaulting and abusing Chinatown native Pvt. Danny Chen before he killed himself will do just 30 days in a military jail — and will remain in the service.
The sentence came one day after the same jury of soldiers and officers found Holcomb guilty of assault and maltreatment for dragging Chen across sharp rocks and calling the 19-year-old Chinese-American soldier “Dragon Lady” before he fatally shot himself last year in Afghanistan.
The jury had found Holcomb not guilty of driving Chen to take his life Oct. 3, striking down the more serious charges of negligent homicide, reckless endangerment and communicating a threat.
Holcomb, 30, will spend 30 days in confinement, forfeit $1,181.55 in pay and have his rank reduced one rung, from sergeant to specialist.
Army prosecutor Maj. Stephen Hernandez argued for a harsher sentence, blasting Holcomb for failing to apologize to Chen’s parents directly. The sergeant wasn’t required to testify, according to military law.
After the verdict was read, an Asian-American rights advocate blasted his sentence as a slap on the wrist — and not a particularly violent one.
Holcomb is the first of eight soldiers to be sentenced for Chen’s suicide.
Chen’s parents, Su Zhen Chen and Yan Tao Chen, issued a statement that alluded to upcoming court martials.
“We still are grieving for the loss of our precious son, and we hope that justice will be done for his sake,” they said in a statement. “Until all of the trials are over, we do not wish to say anything more, and we ask that our privacy be respected.”