Suspect’s suicide won’t halt probe of seaman’s murder

Posted on 06 Aug 2009 at 4:42pm
By Staff Reports

Man charged in death of sailor from Houston suffocated self by stuffing toilet paper in his mouth


August Provost

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — The Navy will continue investigating the murder of a bisexual sailor from Houston even though the suspect apparently committed suicide while in custody last week.

A Navy spokesman said this week that the military owes answers to the family of 29-year-old Seaman August Provost of Houston, who was shot in a Camp Pendleton guard shack on June 30. The shack also was set on fire.

Provost’s family members in Texas have said they believe he may have been killed because of his sexual orientation, though the Navy maintains there’s no evidence to support that claim.

Family members have said Provost complained of being harassed in the weeks prior to his death. This led some in the LGBT community to speculate that the murder was caused by "don’t ask, don’t tell," the ban on openly gay servicemembers that may have deterred him from reporting anti-gay harassment.

Provost’s aunt, Rose Roy of Beaumont, also told Dallas Voice recently that she believed his killer may have been a fellow gay soldier who feared being outed by Provost.

But the Navy has indicated that the man charged last month in Provost’s slaying — 32-year-old Petty Officer Jonathan Campos — was on a crime spree and likely would have killed the person in the guard shack at the time regardless of who it was.

Campos, from Lancaster, Calif., committed suicide Friday, July 31 when he suffocated himself by stuffing toilet paper in his mouth, the Navy said.

The Navy said Campos was under video surveillance because he’d made two previous suicide attempts. A guard visually checked Campos every five minutes as Navy regulations require. However, there may have been a 36-minute gap between physical inspections. The base is investigating.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 7, 2009.

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