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Continued Confinement Ordered For Coast Guardsman Charged With January Murder

United States Coast Guard

Facing court-martial for murder, U.S. Coast Guard seaman Ethan Tucker has been ordered to stay in confinement at a military prison while he awaits his next hearing. 

The 21-year-old was charged last month with killing his shipmate Ethan Kelch, 19, while the Coast Guard Cutter Douglas Munro was in Unalaska in January

Officials said a "neutral and detached reviewing officer" approved Tucker's continued confinement in California as he faces seven violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, including murder, involuntary manslaughter, and aggravated assault.

NyxoLyno Cangemi, assistant public affairs officer for the Coast Guard Pacific Area, said Tucker will soon have a preliminary hearing conducted by an "impartial Coast Guard judge advocate" to determine whether there is probable cause he committed the crime. 

"Tucker's next appearance will likely be at preliminary hearing under Article 32 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice," said Cangemi. "The purpose is to: (a) determine whether there is probable cause to believe the accused has committed the charged offenses; (b) determine whether there is court-martial jurisdiction over the accused; and (c) provide a recommendation as to what action to pursue with the case."

If there is probable cause, the case may proceed to a court-martial trial. If found guilty, Tucker could face dishonorable discharge and life imprisonment. 

Correction: This story previously misstated Ethan Tucker's age. He is 21 years old, not 19.

Hope McKenney reported for KUCB from 2019 until 2022. She was KUCB's news director starting in 2021.
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