September 22, 2011
A former Fort Carson soldier convicted for his part in the 2007 shooting death of another soldier was denied parole on Thursday, according to the slain man’s mother.
Kenneth Eastridge will remain at the Delta Correctional Center for his role in the slaying of Spc. Kevin Shields in December 2007, said Debra Shields, who was told of the decision Thursday afternoon.
Before a parole board earlier in the day, Debra Shields pleaded for Eastridge to continue serving his 10-year sentence for accessory to murder.
“He’s done nothing with his time,” she said after the hearing. “He hasn’t done anything to better himself.”
Eastridge was sitting in the back seat of a car a few feet away from Shields when the specialist was shot three times during a drunken fight with another soldier on Dec. 1, 2007 in west Colorado Springs.
That soldier, Louis Bressler, was later convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and won’t be eligible for parole until 2040.
Bruce Bastien, also out drinking with the group that night, was sent to prison for 60 years for conspiracy to commit murder. He won’t be eligible for parole until 2036.
Prosecutors alleged Eastridge didn’t report the killing, hid evidence and lied to police.
He later told the The Gazette that he handed Bressler the gun used to kill Shields that night.
The 10-year sentence he received as part of a plea deal angered Shield’s mother.
“He knew when he handed him that gun that he was going to kill my son,” Debra Shields said.
The killing was one in a string of violent crimes committed by soldiers in the 500-member “Lethal Warrior” unit in the wake of their deployments to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The unit is part of Fort Carson’s 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment of the 4th Brigade Combat Team.
Debra Shields said she was “ecstatic” that Eastridge was denied parole.
She spent the rest of the day at the site where Shields was killed.
“It’s really hard,” Debra Shields said. “It’s like I can see his body laying there still. And I get very angry because nobody called the police.”