Fort Riley Soldier Accused Of Killing Fellow Unit Member

By: Lindsey Rogers Email
By: Lindsey Rogers Email

FORT RILEY, Kan. – Private John Hughes has been charged with the murder of his fellow Fort Riley soldier, Private Thomas Lavrey.

The 1st Infantry Division's Public Affairs Office released the information Thursday, June 14th, a month after the homicide on post which has been under investigation by the Army Criminal Investigation Command.

Lavrey, 21, was pronounced dead at Irwin Army Community Hospital at Fort Riley after being found unresponsive inside his barracks on Monday, May 14. Officials say the cause of death has been ruled a stabbing.

Lavrey was a utilities equipment repairer assigned to the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Special Troops Battalion, 1st Sustainment Brigade, 1st Infantry Division.

Lavrey, a West Seneca, N.Y. native, joined the Army in March 2010. He was assigned to Fort Riley in September 2010. A representative with the 1st Infantry Division's Public Affairs Office says he had not yet been deployed.

Lavrey was assigned to the same unit as John Hughes.

Hughes, 25, is a wheeled vehicle mechanic with Special Troops Battalion, 1st Sustainment Brigade, 1st Infantry Division.

Hughes is also being charged with resisting arrest and larceny.

The fatal stabbing is still under investigation, according to Fort Riley.

Dale and Barbara Lavrey the victim's parents, spoke to WIVB, the CBS affiliate in Buffalo, NY this week.

Dale Lavrey told the station, "We didn't ever think he was going to be killed in his own room. You worry about him going to battle."

"[It was] an anonymous phone call from a soldier that said it was making him sick that his own parents weren't notified and it was inhumane," Barbara told WIVB of how they found out about their son's death last month.

She told the Buffalo station that the family suspects some kind of cover up because that phone call was more than a day before they received official notice from the Army. The Lavrey family still has not been informed of the circumstances, but Thomas' friends at Fort Riley have filled his parents in on what happened.

"Basically he was stabbed in the back of his neck so that an individual could steal his car and make his getaway to get away from the base," Dale said to WIVB.

WIVB says they received a call from the suspect's father, Brian Hughes, who told the Buffalo station that his son, John, has been trying to get help for mental problems. He added: "The fact that they know they should have had him out of circulation when he informed them, the psychiatrist, that he was feeling homicidal."

Lavrey's parents told several Buffalo news outlets that during a memorial service for their son at Fort Riley on May 24, they were advised by Army investigators that a suspect was in custody. Fort Riley released the information three weeks later.

Details on the motive or circumstances surrounding the homicide has not been released by the Army Criminal Investigation Command or Fort Riley.

Private John Hughes in custody at the military prison in Leavenworth, Kansas.

631 SW Commerce Pl. Topeka, Kansas 66615 phone: 785-272-6397 fax: 785-272-1363 email:
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