January 12, 2015

Former Fort Rucker Soldier Sentenced to Six Years in Daughter’s Death

MONTGOMERY, AL—Benjamin Schrad, a former soldier stationed at Fort Rucker, was sentenced Friday, January 9, 2015, to six years in prison for manslaughter. Schrad’s sentence follows his conviction in federal court for the 2011 death of his four-year old daughter.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, George L. Beck, Jr., who noted that the sentence was above the recommended sentencing range of 33-41 months set out in the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

Schrad, 31, from Storm Lake, Iowa, was stationed and living in base housing at Fort Rucker when he rushed his daughter to an emergency room in Enterprise in August 2011, advising doctors that she had collapsed while they were playing at home. However, medical testimony at the trial established that the girl was violently shaken and that the injuries that caused her death could not have resulted from a mere fall.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office is grateful that the judge in this case upwardly departed from the guidelines and sentenced the offender to 72 months,” stated U.S. Attorney George Beck. “This is a heartbreaking case involving the death of a child, and it is unfortunate that the Federal Sentencing Guidelines only allow for such a narrow sentencing range. A review of the current guidelines by the Sentencing Commission would be welcomed, followed by revisions that would ensure that the level of punishment could more adequately reflect the devastating nature of the crime.”

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Army Criminal Investigative Division at Fort Rucker, and the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences. The Birmingham Children’s Hospital also provided assistance in the investigation and trial of this case. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Susan Redmond and Bob Anderson.