Former seaman gets four years for killing Navy shipmate in 1968

? A former Navy seaman who killed his shipmate nearly 40 years ago was sentenced Friday to four years in prison.

Michael LeBrun, 60, of Greenwood, told U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple that he had lived peacefully since killing 24-year-old Andrew Lee Muns in an office aboard a ship anchored in the Philippines. He pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter on Sept. 8.

“I take full responsibility for my actions,” LeBrun said. “I’ve tried to live the last 37 years as a law-abiding citizen.”

Defense attorney Glenn Bradford said he was “reasonably satisfied” with the sentence. Under laws in place at the time of the crime, LeBrun could be eligible for parole after serving one-third of his prison time.

The murder aboard the USS Cacapon was long a mystery. Muns’ body was never recovered, and the Navy listed him as a deserter after investigators found $8,600 missing from a ship safe.

LeBrun admitted that he committed the crime Jan. 17, 1968, when Muns caught him stealing the money from a ship safe. Prosecutors said when Muns told LeBrun he would report the theft to Naval authorities, LeBrun struck, choked and strangled him.

The case was reopened in 1998 by Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents at the urging of Muns’ sister, Mary Lou Taylor, who called LeBrun’s sentence reasonable.

“I’m concerned about the whole idea of justice,” she said. “I don’t think just because someone hasn’t done anything bad for 37 years we should just let them go.”