Second Fort Stewart soldier admits stabbing fellow soldier in retaliation for “snitching”

Byron Booker, 29, admitted to stabbing Specialist Austin Hawk, 21, in his Fort Stewart barracks room.

Jozsef Papp

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


A former Fort Stewart soldier pleaded guilty in federal court this week regarding his involvement in the stabbing death of a fellow soldier in June 2020.

Jordan Brown, 21, pleaded guilty to assault upon a U.S. servicemember involving bodily injury or a deadly weapon and retaliation against a witness involving bodily injury for his involvement in the death of U.S. Army Specialist Austin Hawk at Fort Stewart.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia, the terms of the plea agreement include a sentence no less than 198 months (16.5 years) and no more than 240 months (20 years), potential fines, restitution and three years of supervised released upon completion of his prison term. U.S. District Court Judge Stan Baker will consider whether to accept the plea agreement during a sentencing hearing.

Brown’s co-defendant, Byron Booker, 29, is still awaiting sentencing after he pleaded guilty to premediated murder of a member of the United State Uniformed Services. All other counts against Booker were dismissed. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he faces a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison.

“The guilty pleas of these two defendants firmly establish their culpability in the despicable murder of a former fellow soldier in retaliation for performing his duties as a service member,” U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia David Estes, a retired U.S. Army Colonel, said in a release. “They will now be held accountable for their bloody conspiracy.”

Booker, who served as an U.S. Army sergeant, and Brown discussed “silencing” Hawk in retaliation. According to the indictment, Hawk had reported Booker to Army leadership for “poor leadership, poor military performance and maltreatment of subordinates” before Booker’s Army discharge. Hawk reported Brown for drug use during his service, which resulted in Brown facing a preliminary inquiry for a court martial proceeding.

Booker drove from his home on June 17, 2020 to Fort Stewart and entered the base on foot before walking to Hawk’s barracks, using a key provided by Brown to access Hawk’s room. After gaining access, Booker “slashed and stabbed Hawk repeatedly with a sharp-edged weapon,” according to the plea agreement. Booker disposed of his clothes and shoes after leaving the scene.

A medical examiner noted that Hawk received 40 separate stab or slash wounds. His body was found in the barracks the next day.

“Brown’s plea is a direct result of the hard work and persistence put in by the FBI Savannah Resident Agency and our partners at the U.S. Army and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia,” Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta, said in a release. “Hawk’s family and friends will never be rid of the pain this senseless murder has caused them, but hopefully it gives them some sense of resolve to know that justice will be served.

Booker was taken into custody on June 18, 2020, while Brown was arrested after the indictment was issued in April 2021.

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