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Misconduct charges tossed against trainer

Feb. 21, 2013 at 2:21 PM
SAN ANTONIO, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- A military judge in Texas has tossed charges against an Air Force trainer charged with sexual misconduct, saying evidence in the case was obtained illegally.

Col. Donald Eller Jr., said evidence against Tech. Sgt. Samuel Wicks was taken from a cellphone stolen by Wicks' girlfriend, the San Antonio Express-News reported Thursday.

Tech Sgt. Ronda Roberts gave the cellphone to investigators after she discovered it contained improper texts by Wicks, a basic training supervisor at Lackland Air Force Base, to three other women. Investigators then reviewed texts on the phone without obtaining a warrant.

Wicks was the ninth of 32 instructors at Lackland to be tried on charges of sexual misconduct. He is the first to have charges dropped.

However, he is not necessarily out of trouble. He could still be discharged from the service, although he could appeal such an action.

Prosecutors have until Friday to appeal the judge's ruling.

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