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Facing rape charge, colonel commits suicide

11-24-2009 Georgia:

Fit and with chiseled good looks, he was the picture of a “squared-away” Marine Corps officer.

A reservist, he parlayed an Ivy League degree into corporate success.

He had respect, friends and family.

It all unraveled suddenly after he had sex with his daughter’s college acquaintance.

He said it was consensual. She said it was rape.

Four days after pleading innocent to related charges, Col. Mark W. Samoline, 50, was found dead of an apparent suicide at the Residence Inn Marriott in Norcross, Ga.

A maid discovered his body. He was dressed in his Marine dress “D” uniform — short-sleeve khaki shirt with blue trousers. Samoline had duct-taped a plastic bag around his head and asphyxiated himself with helium, according to the Gwinnett County Police Department.

Samoline, a logistician in the Individual Ready Reserve who commanded a Kansas City, Mo.-based unit responsible for mustering and mobilizing IRR Marines, was a vice president at United Parcel Service. He was suspended from his civilian job, however, after his employers learned about the rape allegation.

Samoline faced up to 20 years in prison. He was visiting his daughter, a student at Indiana University in Bloomington, on Oct. 18 when he had sex with one of her acquaintances in an off-campus apartment, according to police and his attorney, Megan Lewis.

The 21-year-old woman told police that she had been drinking before she went to sleep, and that she woke up as Samoline was having sex with her, said Capt. Joe Qualters, a Bloomington police spokesman. Samoline told authorities that he had sex with the woman, but called it consensual, Qualters said.

“He was remorseful that he had sex with her and also indicated that he was remorseful that he hadn’t used a condom,” Qualters said.

Samoline was married, but separated from his wife, his attorney said. He is survived by his two children and two stepchildren. Efforts to contact his family were unsuccessful.

On Nov. 2, Samoline appeared in court, pleaded not guilty, and agreed to give a blood sample so he could be tested for communicable diseases. He posted a $20,000 bond and was ordered to stay away from the alleged victim.
A prosperous career

Samoline was the picture of success — a Harvard-educated executive at UPS and a longtime Marine officer, serving on active duty from 1982 to 1991 before moving to the Reserve. His booking photo, released by Bloomington police, shows his chiseled jawline and a quintessentially Marine hairstyle.

He lived in a gated community in Johns Creek, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta along the shores of the Chattahoochee River. The street on which he lived is lined with three-story luxury town houses, some of which are currently selling for close to $500,000.

Samoline’s home of record is Atlanta, according to information provided by Marine Corps Mobilization Command in Kansas City. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of San Francisco and later picked up a master’s in business administration from Harvard.

In May, he took command of Peacetime/Wartime Support Team Midwest in Kansas City. Before that, Samoline was deputy rear area operations group commander with III Marine Expeditionary Force in Okinawa, a position he held from May 2004 until April 2009.

Throughout his Marine career, Samoline held numerous assignments, including stints as a platoon commander with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and, later, as a logistics officer with the 13th MEU, both out of Camp Pendleton, Calif.

He was hired by UPS in 1994 and initially worked in Tokyo, a company spokesman told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Samoline then went on to become the company’s highest-ranking supply chain manager in Japan and South Korea. At the time of his suspension, he worked at UPS’ corporate headquarters in Sandy Springs, Ga., as a vice president of supply chain and logistics.

Mike Healy said he met Samoline when the future colonel was a junior in college. They became friends, then roommates and stayed in touch through mutual friends over the years.

Healy described Samoline as “squared away,” a “genius” who would file complicated tax returns for his friends during college and helped his friends live on slim budgets. He said Samoline was athletic. He was someone who could “outrun a deer,” Healy said.

He said Samoline’s death and the allegations against him. The decision to have sex with a college student was “poor judgment on his part,” Healy said, but he vehemently defended his friend’s character.

“When I heard about what happened … there’s no way in hell he raped anybody,” Healy said. “I still can’t quite fathom that he would take his own life like that. What could have led to this? I have no idea. He was very devoted. He was a sensitive guy.”

Healy said several mutual friends attended Samoline’s funeral Nov. 12 in the Atlanta area.
Maintained his innocence

Samoline’s arrest was detailed in newspaper and television reports throughout Indiana, and bloggers ferociously debated his case online — all of it unwanted attention that, along with his employer’s decision to put him on leave, was “too much for him to handle,” his attorney said.

“He maintained his innocence throughout,” Lewis said, adding she believed Samoline had a strong case. “This is an example of a system, through the media, where you’re guilty until proven innocent.”

Around 2 p.m. Nov. 5, Samoline checked in at the Marriott less than 10 miles from his home, but he didn’t stay the night there, according to a police report. Instead, he went out with his son, who returned him to the hotel the next morning around 7. He was scheduled to check out of his room by 11 a.m.

The maid found his body shortly after noon. A medical examiner ruled his death a suicide.

An unloaded 9mm pistol, wrapped in a white plastic bag, was found on a table near Samoline’s body — along with a note. Police declined to discuss the letter’s contents. ..Source.. by Trista Talton - Staff writer

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