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Story Last modified at 8:58 p.m. on Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Russian roulette soldier out of jail, back at work

Jacob Brouch, the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson soldier charged with manslaughter in the Russian roulette death of a buddy, was released from jail last week on $50,000 bail.

But Brouch won't be able to return to the Eagle River home he shares with his wife and two children. Instead, he'll be living on base under the terms of his release from jail, as approved by a judge.

Anchorage Superior Court Judge Jack Smith released the soldier to the custody of Melanie Swenson, whose husband works with Brouch, according to assistant district attorney Gustaf Olson. Brouch works in an engineering unit.

Brouch had been jailed since early May. He and Sgt. Michael M. McCloskey, 26, were drinking at Brouch's home on Dawn Street when McCloskey shot himself in the stomach around 2 a.m. on March 6 while playing Russian roulette.

Prosecutors originally charged Brouch with second-degree murder, but later reduced the charges to manslaughter. Brouch owned the .44-caliber Ruger revolver used in the game. According to statements Brouch made to police, McCloskey at first denounced the game as Brouch played it but later asked for the gun and asked Brouch for a single round.

Smith, during an April 7 hearing, required that Swenson keep Brouch within "sight and sound" whenever he's not at work. He is not allowed to drink alcohol or be around firearms.

A U.S. Army spokesman said his unit leaders are making sure that Brouch "will not be handling any unit weaponry."

Anchorage police have Brouch's personal weapons.

Another judge on March 23 rejected Brouch's request to be released to the custody of his wife.

Brouch's next hearing is May 4.

This article published in The Alaska Star on Wednesday, April 13, 2011.