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Soldier charged in girl's Army base death

FORT LEWIS, Wash., March 11 (UPI) -- A Fort Lewis, Wash., soldier was charged with involuntary manslaughter following the drug-overdose death of a 16-year-old girl at the U.S. Army base's barracks.

Army Pvt. Timothy Bennitt, 19, was also charged Tuesday with wrongful use and distribution of controlled substances and conspiracy to use controlled substances in connection with the Feb. 15 death of Leah King, 16, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported.

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King, a Lakewood, Wash., high school student, and a friend were both found unconscious at Fort Lewis. King was pronounced dead in the barracks, while the other girl recovered from allegedly inhaling a crushed mixture of prescription drugs Xanax and Oxymorphone, the newspaper said.

Military officials said Bennitt, of Rolling Prairie, Ind., is a heavy construction equipment operator with the 864th Engineer Battalion, 555th Engineer Brigade, at Fort Lewis.

He has been forbidden from leaving Fort Lewis without permission, Army spokesman Joe Piek told The Seattle Times. If convicted on all charges, he could be sentenced to 82 years in prison, the Times said.

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