Fort Bragg soldier to be extradited in homeless beating

Travis David Condor

April 29, 2010 8:16:57 AM PDT
The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office said Thursday it's holding a Fort Bragg soldier who's a suspect in the beating of a homeless man in Ohio.

Travis David Condor, 25, was being held without bond pending extradition.

Condor is one of four men suspected of beating a homeless man sleeping under a bridge. Investigators said the group had been drinking when one of them suggested they go out and "kick somebody's butt."

Military police turned over 24-year-old Riley Feller - a private with the 16th Cavalry Regiment at Fort Knox in Kentucky - to the Hardin County, Ky., sheriff’s office Tuesday. Also accused is 24-year-old Michael Hesson of the Cincinnati area.

A fourth soldier involved is also said to be from Fort Bragg, but officials at the base said they had no information about him.

John Johnson, 52, said he was asleep early April 10 underneath tarps he had set up for shelter when he heard angry voices telling him he was trespassing. At first he thought they were police, but then the four men began cursing him, calling him a bum and beating him, he said. He suffered a fractured cheekbone after being hit with a pipe, he said, and had cuts and bruises over much of his body.

A friend helped Johnson get to a nearby gas station to call 911. He was taken to a hospital, where he stayed overnight.

Cincinnati police say the three soldiers apparently were in town for the weekend and got together with Hesson and other people they knew.

Detective Kristen Shircliff said Hesson told police that the four had been drinking earlier in the day, and one of the men was angry about something and suggested they go out and “kick somebody’s butt.”

Appeals for the public’s help in solving the crime led several people to contact police with information about the suspects, Shircliff said.

“They were bragging about what they had done, and apparently they had told a lot of people they were hanging out with that they wanted to go out and beat somebody’s butt,” she said.

She said they apparently then decided to target a homeless person and started down to the encampment under the bridge.

Johnson was hit in the head and other body parts with makeshift weapons and a baseball bat, Shircliff said. The suspects tore apart his encampment, she said.

“They didn’t know the man, and there was just no reason for this,” Shircliff said. “It was senseless.”

Johnson had been living on the streets of Cincinnati for more than two years and had worked temporary jobs occasionally.

“I could never earn enough to get off the street,” he said.

He is now in a “safe house” and has taken up a man’s offer to help find employment.

“It makes me feel a lot better to know that they think they have found the guys who did this,” Johnson said.

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