Claude E. Alexander, World War II CasualtyPorter County Data on World War II Casualties . . . .

Claude E. Alexander
Private, Paratrooper, Company K, 1st Regiment, US Army
Date of Birth: 1921
Date of Death: January 9, 1943
Burial: Graceland Cemetery, Kouts, Porter County, Indiana
Cause of Death: Murdered
Date of Enlistment: June 24, 1941
Hometown: Valparaiso

Newspaper Notices:

Death for Soldier In Murder Charge
Sentence Second Paratrooper To 10 Years in Alexander Slaying

One paratrooper has been sentenced to hang and another to ten years in prison for their part in the murder last January of Paratrooper Claude Alexander, of Valparaiso, Fort Benning, Ga., officials announced today according to a United Press dispatch.

The post relations office at Fort Benning said that Raymond Fortney, of Otho, Iowa, had been given the death penalty by a court-martial. Erschel Hunt, of Betsey Lane, Ky., was sentenced to 10 years. Hunt had turned government's evidence. Their ranks were not given.

The two men were found guilty of assisting Albert Kissell, of Corning, N. Y., in the slaying. Last August Kissell was sentenced to hang in connection with the murder.

Kissell was charged with killing Alexander on the night of Jan. 9, 1943, and aided by Fortney and Hunt, throwing his body in the Chattahooche river from Dillingham street bridge in Columbus, Ga. The body was recovered Feb. 28.

The body of Alexander was brought to Valparaiso and later buried in the Kouts cemetery. Several months later 1st Lieut. Mafflin E. Christoffel was sent here by Fort Benning officials to conduct an investigation in connection with the identity of Alexander. It was said fingerprints of the dead man did not correspond with finger prints of Alexander taken from industrial records.

An order was obtained from Judge Mark B. Rockwell, of Porter superior court for exhumation of the body. Coroner H. A. Flynn conducted the disinterment. Dr. George R. Jones, Valparaiso dentist, examined Alexander's teeth and identified dental work done by him.

Both Coroner Flynn and Dr. Jones were witnesses at the trials of Kissell and Fortney held in U. S. Military court at Muscogee, Ga.

Alexander, who was 21 years of age, was a son of Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Alexander, of Valparaiso. He was inducted into the service on July 14, 1942, by the Porter county selective service board and sent to Camp Wolters, Texas. Later he transferred to a paratroopers' school at Fort Benning.
Source: The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; January 13, 1944; Volume 17, Page 1, Columns 1 and 2

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Information abstracted and transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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