A Marine veteran known for an embarrassing wartime controversy is being credited with helping police in Tennessee stop his fiancée’s alleged plan to hire a hit man to kill her ex-boyfriend.
Joseph Chamblin, a former scout sniper whose military career came to an end after a video surfaced showing him and other Marines urinating on enemy corpses, tipped off law enforcement in Kingston, Tennessee, that his fiancée, Laura Ann Buckingham, had allegedly repeatedly asked for his help in making her ex “go away,” according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.
Reached by phone Friday, Chamblin declined to comment about the ongoing investigation, but told Marine Corps Times that he and Buckingham had been together since last April and were engaged.
Buckingham was arrested Wednesday evening on a warrant for criminal attempt to commit first degree murder of her former boyfriend, Bradley Sutherland, according a joint press release put out by the Roane County Sheriff and 9th District Attorney General offices.
She allegedly paid an undercover agent with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to kill Sutherland, who lives in New Albany, Indiana, the Sentinel reported. The two have a 3-year-old son together, according to the sheriff's office release.
“[Buckingham] acted with intent to complete a course of action that would constitute the offense of premeditated murder by hiring and paying another to kill Bradley Sutherland and thereby taking a substantial step toward the commission of that offense,” the release states.
Chamblin, who shared a rental home with Buckingham, became concerned after she allegedly asked him about killing Sutherland several times, the Sentinel reported.
“She stated to him that since he was in the military maybe he had some friends that could do this for him,” a police incident states, according to the Sentinel.
Worried about his children’s safety, Chamblin digitally recorded Buckingham allegedly asking him about how to arrange Sutherland’s murder. He then gave the recordings to law enforcement officials who initiated an investigation that led to Buckingham’s arrest, the Sentinel reported.
As a staff sergeant, Chamblin served as a scout sniper platoon commander with 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines during 2011 deployment to Afghanistan's Helmand province. The snipers were on a patrol in Musa Qala district on July 27, 2011, when Chamblin and three other Marines filmed themselves urinating on Taliban corpses.
Joe Chamblin, former scout sniper with 3rd Marines, Second Battalion, discusses the fallout from the video showing four Marines urinating of dead Taliban fighters.
The incident received international condemnation when the video surfaced online in January 2012. Chamblin later faced a special court-martial and lost a rank. He left the Marine Corps as a sergeant in 2013.
He told Marine Corps Times in an October 2013 interview that he didn't see anything wrong with his actions in Afghanistan and "would do it again."
"They were insurgents, they had weapons and they were trying to kill us," Chamblin said. "The same guys were making IEDs and trying to kill Marines. If they could get over here, they would cut off the heads of everybody in this room right now. That’s how they are. And you know what? I won that day. They didn’t."
On Thursday, Chamblin petitioned for an order of protection against Buckingham, who is currently in Roane County Jail. Her bond is set at $150,000.
“If she makes bond, I and my children will be in danger of repercussions,” he stated in an affidavit, according to the Sentinel. “She has threatened me in the past.”