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Soldier wrongly accused of murder

D.B. Smith, Windspeaker Staff Writer

Page 2

The Canadian Native soldier accused of beating and torturing a Somali man to death and then attempting suicide in his jail cell is innocent, his family said.

Cpl. Clayton Matchee was a professional soldier, his parents said. If their son had been involved in the beating death, he would have been responsible enough to face the charges.

"I can't see my son trying to commit suicide," said Salina Matchee. "Why would be hang himself? If he had beaten the Somali, if he was gong to be charged and go to prison for 14 years, he could have handled that. He would have found another way."

"A father would contest something like this," said Leon Matchee. "He was never that kind of guy. He loved the army. His career was the army."

Clayton is charged with second degree murder and torture of Sidane Akubar Arone. The Somali died March 16 from an apparent beating while in Canadian custody, Department of National Defense spokesman Cpt. Marc Rouleau said.

Arone was apprehended while trying to infiltrate the Canadian compound at Belet Huen and was brought to a detention area. He was later found unconscious and taken to a medical facility but was pronounced dead upon arrival.

Three other soldiers serving with the Canadian Airborne Regiment have also been charged in the incident. Pte. Elvin Kyle Brown of Edmonton is also charged with second-degree murder and torture of the Somali. Pte. David John Brocklebank and Sgt. Mark Adam Boland are charged with torture and negligent performance on duty.

Under the National Defense Act, which incorporates the Criminal Code, the sentence for second-degree murder is life in prison with no eligibility for parole for 10 years. The sentence for torture is 14 years in prison.

Clayton was arrested March 18 but no changes were laid until May 19. He was found hanging in his cell in Belet Huen in an apparent suicide attempt March 19, said Rouleau.

He remains in serious condition at the National Defense medical centre in Ottawa. At the time of the incident, he had been in the east African country for almost three months.

Leon said his son had had problems with his career as a soldier, but that Clayton had made his mind up to stick with it.

"He phoned me two days before this happened and said he was going to be there as long as need be," he said. "He was thinking of quitting the army because his wife didn't like it. He stayed away from home for long times. But he said he would stay."

Clayton is too much of a perfectionist to kill a man and then himself, said Selina. After talking to her daughter-in-law, Marge, about the incident, Salina believes Clayton's involvement in the death of the Somali was only marginal.

"They did kind of rough him up," she said. "It was the order. There was a captain with them. That's the way we looked at it. They roughed him up but they did not beat the heck out of him." Two hours later, (Clayton) was told to pick him up and he was dead. My daughter-in-law said he phoned home and said the Somali was still alive when he left him."

Salina said her unshaken faith in her son and the numerous unanswered questions keep her from accepting the army's story about the suicide.

Leon also has his doubts about the alleged hanging.

"The wound was below his Adam's apple," he said. "It was too low for a hanging wound. And shoe laces are not enough to hold a 200-pound man. He was a nice guy, committed to what he had to do. He was a perfectionist. I was amazed to hear what I heard."

The family has not had any formal response from the army over the charges or the suicide attempt, Leon said. In fact, they only found out about the incident when Leon saw a television news report

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