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Murder charge dropped in July shooting: Army will decide on court martial

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Posted: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 11:55 pm | Updated: 12:07 pm, Mon Jan 21, 2013.

FAIRBANKS — Civilian criminal charges have been dropped for a Fort Wainwright soldier accused of fatally shooting a fellow soldier in South Fairbanks, but the Army is holding him in pre-trial confinement pending a court martial.

Joshua Jordan Corona, 21, is accused of shooting Jawaun Collins, 19, on July 19 at Corona’s home in a 22nd Avenue apartment. The Fairbanks police described the incident as an accidental shooting followed by an attempted cover-up.

Corona was initially charged with second-degree murder in Alaska Superior Court, but, on Aug. 22, the district attorney dismissed the charge.

Fairbanks District Attorney Michael Gray said the charges were dropped after Collins’ mother asked the state to dismiss the charge and let the Army court martial Corona.

“Given the circumstances, we thought that a just resolution,” Gray said in an email Monday.

Lt. Col. Bill Coppernoll, a spokesman for U.S. Army Alaska confirmed Tuesday that the Army is holding Corona in pre-trial confinement. No date had been set for an Article 32 hearing, the military equivalent of a grand jury hearing, he said.

According to a civilian criminal complaint filed in July, Corona first told Fairbanks police that Collins accidentally shot himself in the head. After two other soldiers who witnessed the shooting came forward, Corona told police he shot Collins. He said he thought the gun was empty. He said he was drunk and had a hazy memory of the shooting, according to the complaint.

Contact staff writer Sam Friedman at 459-7545. Follow him on Twitter,

@FDNMcrime.

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