The Black, single military mom who refused to deploy to Afghanistan last November will not face a court martial after the Army instead chose to demote and discharge her.
Spc. Alexis Hutchinson, 21, refused to join her unit overseas after her mother backed out of caring for the soldier’s 13-month-old son. Assigned as an army cook for the third Combat Aviation Brigade of the Army’s Third Infantry Division, Hutchinson denied using her son to escape deployment.
“She’s excited that she’s no longer facing jail and can still be with her son, which is the most important thing,” Rai Sue Sussman, Hutchinson’s civilian attorney, told the Associated Press. “We’re very happy about it right now.”
The Army filed criminal charges against Hutchinson in January, but settled the case after deciding a hearing would be “too disruptive,” according to the AP. However, she will lose military benefits and rank, dropping down to the rank of private.
Hutchinson claimed her mother agreed to care for her son, Kamani, for the full year she would be deployed, but that her mother changed her mind a few days before Hutchinson was scheduled to leave. The day of her flight, Hutchinson called her superiors and said she would not be deploying.
But Army spokesman Kevin Larson told the AP that the Army had evidence that Hutchinson would have resisted deploying “by any means.”
“This case wasn’t about a soldier having to choose between her duty to the nation and her family,” Larson said. “There is evidence both from Pvt. Hutchinson and her fellow soldiers to indicate she had no intentions of deploying.”