LOS ANGELES (CN) – An Army veteran who pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the stabbing death of a comrade has sued Playboy for defamation, claiming the magazine falsely described him “as the sole murderer” in the stabbing death of Richard Davis “in order to write a more captivating article.”
Jacob Burgoyne claims he confessed only to drinking with the victim and with the man who killed him, and that Playboy knew this, having published a previous article that stated this correctly.
Burgoyne served in Iraq, from which he was evacuated in July 2003 with a severe case of post-traumatic stress disorder, he claims in Superior Court. He says he spent “minimal time in an Army hospital,” and was released after he “spoke briefly with an Army psychiatrist”.
“Exactly two days after being released, Burgoyne and his fellow soldiers, Mario Navarrette, Douglas Woodcoff, Richard Davis, and Alberto Martinez went out drinking at a club where an altercation between the soldiers resulted in Alberto Martinez stabbing Richard Davis to death,” the complaint states. “Burgoyne took full responsibility for his actions during the attack and led investigators to the scene of the crime. He fully cooperated with the District Attorney’s office as a key witness in the murder trial and pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter. Burgoyne is now serving his 20-year sentence in a Georgia prison.”
He claims Playboy’s May 2004 issue contained an article by Mark Boal, “Death and Dishonor,” which accurately described the crime, and identified Martinez as the stabber.
He claims a March 2007 article, “The Real Cost of War,” also by Boal, “singles out Burgoyne, the soldier diagnosed of (sic) PTSD and ordered to be kept under watch yet released without further examination, as the sole murderer and the one who stabbed Richard Davis in order to write a more captivating article, a blatant exercise in defamation.”
Burgoyne claims Playboy refused his attorney’s numerous demands for a retraction. He demands punitive damages, and cites the original article as proof that the defamation was malicious. He is represented by Christopher Montes de Oca of Long Beach.