Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Soldier's suicide worsens plight
for his 3 children

Faced trial in murder of his wife

By Rob Phillips
The Cincinnati Enquirer
and The Associated Press

MASON - Lawyers involved with the case of Master Sgt. William Wright, who killed himself while facing trial in the murder of his wife, said Monday that his death makes life even tougher for the couple's three children.

Wright, 36, and his slain wife, Jennifer, both grew up in Mason. Her parents and other relatives still live there. A sister, Donna Walker, has taken responsibility for the children, ages 6, 9 and 13.

"These kids have been through a lot and this is not going to help," said Jonathon Sams, a Mason attorney who has been working with Jennifer Wright's family to get more financial support for the three Wright children. Sams said no progress has been made in response to a letter he wrote last year to the House Armed Services Committee asking for the children to receive benefits until they are 18 and to pay for their college educations.

"Though not soldiers themselves, these children are, nonetheless, reliant upon the military,'' Sams wrote.

Wright, an Army Special Forces soldier based in Fort Bragg, N.C., was charged with strangling his wife, 32, nine months ago, shortly after he returned from Afghanistan duty.

He hanged himself in a jail cell Sunday.

"I am very saddened by the death of Bill Wright," said Thomas Maher Wright's defense attorney in North Carolina. "It compounds the tragedy that his children faced with the death of their mother."

Wright was one of four soldiers at Fort Bragg suspected of killing their spouses in a six-week stretch last summer. The deadly spree forced the Army to re-evaluate how it provided support for soldiers with strained marriages and those readjusting after combat service.

Three of the four soldiers suspected of killing their wives were in Special Forces units. All three have now committed suicide.

Wright was found in his cell about 1 a.m., Lt. Glen Mobley of the Cumberland County Sheriff's Department said. He was declared dead about an hour later.

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