A Lubbock soldier makes what could be a life altering decision. Police arrested 19-year-old Dane Butterfield early Wednesday morning. Butterfield is in the Lubbock County Jail, charged with deserting the Army.
NewsChannel 11 learned more about Butterfield and what this means for his future.
Butterfield is registered as a freshman at Texas Tech University, and we know he was on campus in September. That's because Tech Police arrested him for DWI, drugs, and unlawfully carrying a firearm.
What we haven't been able to find out is when Butterfield joined the Army, and how long he's allegedly been AWOL. We still don't know where he was stationed.
LPD arrested Butterfield around 3:00 a.m. Wednesday at a home in the 4600 Block of 29th Street. He seemed to go peacefully. Butterfield now faces serious charges, that Lubbock veteran Ysidro Gutierrez says, could follow him the rest of his life.
"When a soldier goes AWOL, absent without leave, it creates problems all up and down the chain of command, and our military service has a bigger mission than to be going around looking for people who have deserted their post. The other side of it is the tragedy involving the soldier himself. You have a 19-year-old soldier who now has ruined his life," Gutierrez said.
"He will probably be incarcerated. His entire future comes into question. He probably won't be able to get a job with the federal government. Every time he applies for a job he will have to indicate in his application that he was AWOL. So, it is a tragedy for the soldier himself, it's a tragedy for the family, and it really detracts our military from its primary mission," Gutierrez continued.
Butterfield could be dishonorably discharged, have to forfeit all pay, and send up to five years in confinement.
The death penalty is also on the books during times of war, but Gutierrez tells us that hasn't been used since World War II. He says it's extremely unlikely a judge would sentence Butterfield to death.
We did speak with Butterfield's sister Wednesday, but she did not want to comment until she spoke with her brother and figured out what is going on.
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