Update on inter-service argument murder; Cunningham’s military records

| August 7, 2014


TSO sends us a link to the Billings Gazette which updates the story of William Earl Cunningham, the 63-year-old who stabbed to death 40-year-old Nathaniel Horn to prove that the Army is a better service than the Marine Corps. Apparently, the police haven’t been able to verify Cunningham’s military records yet, but they have access to other records on him;

“The defendant is a violent multi-state violent offender who slashed the victim’s throat over an argument about the military,” Deputy Yellowstone County Attorney Chris Morris told the judge during bond arguments.

Morris listed several felony California convictions for Cunningham — including for assault with a deadly weapon and willful child cruelty — dating back to the 1970s. Cunningham has lived in Yellowstone County, where he has felony convictions for drug possession and forgery, since at least 1996, the prosecutor said.

Morris said later Tuesday that investigators haven’t yet been able to independently verify if Cunningham or Horn served in the military.

Well, Cunningham was in the Army, the good folks at Guardian of Valor sent us his FOIA. If you’re interested, here are his records;

William Cunningham Assignments2

William Cunningham Assignments

William Cunningham FOIA

He spent 3 years, ETS’d and reenlisted before the year was out, took another burst and got out again before four years was up as an E-4. He was an airborne-qualified carpenter.

So, he’s off the street for the time being on a 1/2 million dollar bond, but I’m thinking that with felony convictions back to the 70s that he has been using his military career as an excuse for his bad behavior for a long time.

Category: Shitbags

Comments (14)

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  1. Hondo says:

    Vietnam-era service with the 82nd, followed by a second stint a few months after getting out. Nothing wrong with that (1973-1974 was crap economically, and my guess is he likely couldn’t find a job but qualified to go back on active duty). The early exit in 1978 could be due to an early out program as well – or maybe not.

    Damn shame. I’m guessing he had issues for a long time – he seems to have been a decent troop once (he got a GCM, likely for his first enlistment). Or maybe he was just hiding things better during that stint. Dunno.

    In any case: “Some men, you just can’t reach.”

  2. O-4E says:

    Right from DA 611-21

    “MOS 51B – Carpentry and Masonry Specialist

    A carpentry and masonry specialist is responsible for general heavy carpentry and masonry duties.

    Duties performed by Soldiers in this MOS include:

    •Construct and maintain rigging devices, trusses and other structural assemblies
    •Assist in building layout, framing, sheathing, fabrication and roofing structures
    •Perform basic carpentry and masonry skills
    •Assist in the performance of combat engineer missions
    •Construct concrete form work for slabs, walls and columns
    •Cut the throat of drunken, lippy former Marines while in a drunken stupor”

    Dang! He was right!

  3. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    The purpose of bond is to best ensure the appearance of a defendant at future proceedings. The rationale is that an individual with strong ties to the community who puts his cash or property on the line as collateral, subject to forfeiture if he goes on the wing, will appear. Me, if I kill someone and believe I’m going to prison for that killing, I am so gone if I have bail set and am able to post it.

    • The Other Whitey says:

      Somehow I doubt that you would slit somebody’s throat over a drunken disagreement over the relative merits of the Army vs the Marines, AirCav.

  4. ChipNASA says:

    Hulk Hogan has *really* let himself go. 😀

  5. Delilah T. says:

    It looks to me like he left the Army, couldn’t find work, went back in and then left in that RIF, still couldn’t find much work, and went down the wrong road on a long-term basis, with repeated offenses. Probably misbehaved in the Army, too.

    No sympathy here. I see no excuse for what he did.

  6. 509Trooper says:

    It’s hard to read but it looks like he was in the 22nd Engineer BN at Fort Bragg. I believe that was XVIII Airborne Corps so he may or may not have been jump qualified (I couldn’t see an entry for Fort Benning and jump school on there but again it is hard to read). I was in the Army from 1976-1981 and I am not aware of any RIFs going on at that time. With that much time in the only thing I know of that would have gotten him a discharge would be for the good of the service because of issues his command had with him.

    • 509Trooper says:

      I didn’t read the FOIA before but it does say he has his wings.

    • David says:

      if anything, the opposite was true – there may have been RIFs in the Officer’s Corps of which I’m unaware but that was post-Vietnam, enlistments were low, and I believe there were multiple waivers extent for poor GT test scores, criminal records, etc.

    • James says:

      No RIFs at that time. I entered in 1976 with a police record. They had such a rush to get out between 73 and 75, that I was proof recruiters were digging low. Lucky for me, turned my life around, and afforded me great opportunities. The military in returned received a soldier that was rock steady, highly motivated (after law run-in)and willing to take the crap they dished. Except for being married to a wonderful woman, 22 years in the military was the greatest time of my life.

  7. Pinto Nag says:

    Whatever honor this man ever had is gone now. He’s nothing more than a murderous thug, and needs to be treated as such.

    Tall tree, short rope. End of problem.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Good conduct medal… talk about irony, huh?