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Andrew P. Witt
Born b. 1982
Place of birth West Salem, Wisconsin, United States
Allegiance Flag of the United States.svg United States
Service/branch Flag of the United States Air Force.png United States Air Force
Rank Airman Basic, formerly Senior Airman
Unit 116th Air Control Wing

Andrew Paul Witt (born 1982) is a former Senior Airman in the United States Air Force who was convicted and sentenced to death for the murders of a fellow Airman and his wife in 2004, while he was an avionics technician in the 116th Air Control Wing at Robins Air Force Base.[1]

Early lifeEdit

Witt grew up in West Salem, Wisconsin and graduated, in 2000, from Aquinas High School in La Crosse, Wisconsin.[2] He entered the Air Force in 2001 and was assigned to Robins Air Force Base in August 2002.

The crimeEdit

In the early morning hours of 5 July 2004, two bodies were discovered in a base house located at 1152A Fort Valley Street, Robins Air Force Base, Warner Robins, Georgia. Senior Airman (SrA) Andrew "Andy" Schliepsiek was found dead, lying on his back in the living room. He had been stabbed in the back and chest. His wife, Jamie Schliepsiek, was also dead. She was wearing only a t-shirt and underwear and lay approximately 10 feet away. There was a large blood stain on the wall behind Jamie’s body, and blood was also visible on the door, floor, nightstand, and bedroom lamp. At a nearby hospital, a third victim, SSgt Jason King, underwent a surgery for the five knife wound injuries sustained during a violent attack.[3]

During the Article 32 hearing, similar to a civilian grand jury proceeding, Staff Sergeant Jason King testified that SrA Schliepsiek became very angry when his wife told him during a July 4 cookout that Witt, an acquaintance of the others, had tried to kiss her the night before.[4]

VerdictEdit

In October 2005, Andrew Witt was found guilty of two specifications of premeditated murder of SrA Schliepsiek and his wife, Jamie, and one specification of attempted premeditated murder of then-Senior Airman Jason King.

In the pre-sentencing phase, Witt submitted a written statement where he took responsibility for his actions but asked the jury to spare his life. It read:

I would like to apologize again to the Schliepsieks, the Bielenbergs, the Kings, my family, and the Air Force for my actions. My life has changed dramatically since that night, and I plan to continue to make changes. I want you to know that I am firmly resolved to lead a productive life in the service of others and will not wander from this path if given the chance. Please allow me to live so that I can do this. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to share my thoughts with you.

The Airman also discussed his Air Force career:

I regret losing my focus on the Air Force mission -- looking back, I do truly love the Air Force, and I have been proud to wear the uniform,” he wrote. "I understand that my actions mean that I will never wear it again once this trial is over, and I am sorry for that as well. I am sorry for the discredit I have brought upon the Air Force and the negative attention I have brought to Robins Air Force Base.

A military panel sentenced Airman Witt to death.[5] His death sentence was the first Air Force death sentence since that given against Jose Simoy in 1990, a sentence that was set aside on appeal and lowered to life imprisonment. On August 12, 2013, the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the guilty verdict, but set aside the sentence, citing deficiencies in Witt's defense counsel, and sending the case back for a rehearing on the sentence.[6] On August 21, 2013, Witt's attorneys filed for review of that decision by the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, which will decide whether or not it will review the case.[7]

Witt is now the only Airman to sit on death row at United States Disciplinary Barracks, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.[8]

ReferencesEdit

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