Soldier is held without bond

Suspect accused of strangling, stabbing after celebration


MONROE — Hours after the celebration of his wife's 21st birthday, an Army soldier allegedly strangled one man and assaulted another in a Lenawee County home while other party-goers slept.

The suspect, Brian James-Mabesa Gogue, 31, of Linthicum Heights, Md., was arraigned Monday in Second District Court in Adrian on a five-count felony warrant on charges of open murder that carries a punishment of life in prison, assault with intent to murder, two counts of carrying a dangerous weapon with unlawful intent, and felony firearm. He was being held in the Lenawee County jail without bond.

Mr. Gogue is accused of strangulating Joel Krutsch, 20, and injuring Scott Fernandez, 18, both of Manchester, Mich.

The soldier, who was home on leave from South Korea since Sept. 28, was staying at a mobile home where his wife, Nina Gogue, 21, lives.

But her intentions were to divorce Mr. Gogue and she didn't hide her plan to dissolve the marriage, said Lt. Tony Cuevas of the Michigan State Police Monroe Post.

Mr. Gogue is a Private, 1st class. He a healthcare specialist.

Ms. Gogue, who had agreed to talk about the divorce with her husband, was not romantically involved with either of the victims, Lieutenant Guevas said. She was not injured.

Lieutenant Cuevas on Monday outlined the events as alleged in the investigation in an interview in Monroe.

He said Mr. Gogue, his wife, and others who live in the mobile home had made plans to have drinks and dinner to celebrate Ms. Gogue's birthday on Friday night. Mr. Gogue was included in the group even though his wife was distancing herself from him. The couple have not been married a year yet; they met when she was in the Army.

The group included Christina Clark, who rents the mobile home from a relative; Ms. Clark's fiancee Mr. Fernandez, and his best friend since high school, Mr. Krutsch, all who reside at the home.

Mr. Gogue was the designated driver for the group that went to a bar in Grass Lake near Jackson. The group returned home about 1 a.m. Saturday, and they continued to celebrate and were joined by two of Ms. Gogue’s friends. About 3 a.m., everyone went to bed, with Ms. Gogue and three others sleeping in the back bedroom; the suspect in the front bedroom, and Mr. Krutsch in the bedroom next to Mr. Gogue. Two women were asleep on a sofa.

Sometime between 3 and 8:30 a.m., Mr. Krutsch was strangled, apparently with a power cord. Mr. Gogue then knocked on the bedroom door of Mr. Fernandez and told him that Mr. Krutsch had passed out in the bathroom. It isn't known where Mr. Krutsch was killed, but it is possible the body was taken to the bathroom to set the stage for the attack on Mr. Fernandez, who was assaulted after noticing that his friend's body was cold, Lieutenant Cuevas said.

The suspect allegedly tried to choke Mr. Fernandez with an electrical cord, but he was able to break free. A pocket knife and semi-automatic pistol were apparently close by, and Mr. Gogue allegedly stabbed Mr. Fernandez in the face and in the shoulder. In the struggle, the knife and gun scooted under the bathroom door. Mr. Fernandez, covered in blood, pinned down Mr. Gogue as others in the home came to the injured man's assistance.

At 8:45 a.m. Saturday, troopers from the Monroe Post of the MSP were called to the mobile home at 2985 Gady Rd. in Raisin Township.

Ms. Gogue, a paramedic, performed CPR on Mr. Krutsch until the medics took over. The victim was pronounced dead at Herrick Hospital in Tecumseh.

Mr. Fernandez was treated at Bixby Medical Center in Adrian.

Mr. Gogue did talk to law enforcement officials about the incident, Lieutenant Cuevas said, and no motive was given.

The Army’s Criminal Investigation Division will conduct a joint investigation with the Michigan State Police. Plans call for interviews with fellow soldiers in Korea to help develop a motive.

The Army CID will review the suspect's medical and service history, and will try to learn more about the suspect's behavior before he went on leave.

Lieutenant Cuevas said the suspect and the deceased victim had no previous connections, and he called the deadly incident “definitely tragic.”

Mr. Gogue was arraigned before District Court Judge Laura Schaedler. The suspect faces a preliminary exam within two weeks.

Contact Janet Romaker at: or 419-724-6006.