By Colleen Jenkins
WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina | Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:46pm EDT
(Reuters) - A U.S. Army infantryman accused in the suicide of a Chinese-American soldier in Afghanistan was sentenced to six months in prison and discharged from the military for misconduct after pleading guilty on Monday to maltreatment and violating an order against hazing.
Specialist Ryan J. Offutt, one of eight soldiers charged in connection with 19-year-old Private Danny Chen's death, was accused of mistreating Chen by calling him racially disparaging names, throwing rocks and water bottles at him, kicking him and dragging him.
Chen, the only Chinese-American in his unit, killed himself with a gunshot in a guard tower in southern Afghanistan in October 2011 after being subjected to weeks of such abuse, military prosecutors said.
At Fort Bragg, North Carolina, on Monday, Offutt admitted to charges of hazing and maltreatment and said his actions were cruel and unnecessary, according to base spokesman Thomas McCollum.