SAVANNAH — A former Army sergeant has been sentenced to life in federal prison for fatally slashing and stabbing a fellow soldier dozens of times in his barracks at a Georgia base.
A U.S. District Court judge in Savannah sentenced Byron Booker, 29, on Thursday. Booker pleaded guilty last fall to a federal charge of premeditated murder of a member of the U.S. military in the killing of 21-year-old Army Spc. Austin Hawk at Fort Stewart, Georgia.
Booker previously admitted in court to plotting the slaying with another soldier whom Hawk had reported to superiors for smoking marijuana.
The June 2020 killing happened barely a month after Booker was honorably discharged from the Army when he completed his time on active duty, according to court records. Prosecutors said Jordan Brown, a soldier from Booker's former unit, came to Booker complaining that Hawk had ruined his life by reporting him for drug use. Brown said he was being kicked out of the Army.
According to documents, Hawk was alone in his barracks room when Booker got him to open the door after midnight on June 17, 2020. Booker repeatedly slashed and stabbed Hawk with an unspecified sharp weapon. The medical examiner counted 40 wounds, including a fatal gash across Hawk's throat.
Brown pleaded guilty in December to charges of assaulting a military service member and intimidating a witness. He is still awaiting sentencing.