‘Marine of the Year,’ Profiled by Lawrence Paper, Arrested for Attempted Murder

By: E&P Staff

A veteran recently named “Marine of the Year” for his service in Iraq was charged with attempted murder in Lawrence, Ma., after he fired a shotgun from his apartment window at a group of revelers outside a nightclub, police said. Two people, age 15 and 20, were hit by bullet fragments and suffered minor injuries.

Daniel Cotnoir, 33, had called police minutes earlier to complain about the noise coming from the street shortly before 3 a.m. Saturday.

He had been the subject of two recent stories in the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune concerning the psychological toll of his service in Iraq, and the difficulties to readjusting to civilian life.

Cotnoir served as a mortician for open casket funerals, frequently recovering-?or reassembling?-bodies ripped apart by roadside bombs and other attacks. He earlier told the paper he was getting counseling at a veterans hospital in Bedford.

Everyday sensations in his post-war life ? such as the sound of a truck hitting a pothole ? had become haunting reminders of Iraq, he told the paper last November. “It’s a lot harder to talk about the job now than it was at the time to actually do it,” Cotnoir said then. “The stories I’ve gained from my deployment aren’t the kind of stories you share.”

After yesterday?s incident, he told police someone had thrown an empty bottle through his bedroom window, and that he then feared for the safety of his wife and two daughters, who were home, the newspaper reported. He lives over his family?s funeral home.

His wife told police they had been arguing and he had been drinking.

Cotnoir was named 2005 Marine Corps Times Marine of the Year last month for his service in Iraq, chosen from 180,000 candidates. “Sgt. Cotnoir’s selflessness and dedication to fallen Marines, and to their families back home, is truly inspiring,” Rep. Martin T. Meehan said during the presentation speech in Washington last month.

Among the bodies he recoverd in Iraq were the burned and mutilated remains of two security contractors who were hung by ropes from a bridge in Fallujah.

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