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Second ex-soldier sentenced in Fort Stewart murder
Jordan Brown
Jordan Brown

A former U.S. Army soldier has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to his role in a plot that led to the stabbing death of a fellow soldier in his Fort Stewart barracks. 

Jordan Brown, 23, of St. Marys was sentenced to 240 months in prison after previously pleading guilty to assault upon a U.S. servicemember involving bodily injury or a deadly weapon, and retaliation against a witness involving bodily injury, said Jill E. Steinberg, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. 

U.S. District Court Judge R. Stan Baker also ordered Brown to serve three years of supervised release upon completion of his prison term. 

There is no parole in the federal system.

Brown’s co-defendant, Byron Booker, 29, of Ludowici was sentenced on Feb. 2 to life in prison after previously pleading guilty to premeditated murder of a member of the United States uniformed services.

“Both of these defendants are responsible for the brutal murder of a U.S. Army soldier who honorably performed his duties as a service member,” Steinberg said. “The final sentence in this case hopefully provides justice for Specialist Austin Hawk, and holds his killers accountable.” 

As described in court testimony and in the plea agreements for the defendants, Brown, a former U.S. Army Private First Class, admitted that he and Booker, a former U.S. Army sergeant, discussed “silencing” Specialist Austin J. Hawk, 21, at Fort Stewart Military Reservation in retaliation for Hawk reporting Brown to U.S. Army leadership for marijuana use. 

After gaining entry to Hawk’s barracks room shortly after midnight on June 17, 2020, Booker “slashed and stabbed Hawk repeatedly with a sharp-edged weapon.” A medical examiner noted that Hawk received 40 separate stab or slash wounds, many of them that individually would have been fatal, and cut his own hand during the assault. 

Hawk’s body was found in his Fort Stewart barracks room the next day. Brown was in his own barracks room on the floor below Hawk’s room during the assault.

“This sentence holds Brown accountable for his actions and brings closure to the victim’s family,” said Rusty Higgason, assistant special agent-in-charge of the Department of the Army Criminal Investigation Division’s Southeast Field Office. “This complex investigation is a great example of the close teamwork among Army CID, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory, FBI, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Georgia.”

Steinberg commended the work of CID forensic science technicians from Fort Stewart, Fort Bragg, Fort Gordon, and Fort Jackson, and from the analysts with the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory and the FBI Crime Lab.   

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