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"A military panel just returned findings of guilty to premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit murder against Sergeant (Michael) Leahy," Lieutenant Colonel George Wright told AFP.
Leahy, one of several soldiers charged in the brutal killings, faces a possible sentence of life in prison.
US media have reported that the group killed four handcuffed and blindfolded Iraqi prisoners with pistol shots to the head beside a Baghdad canal.
Leahy, a health-care specialist, completed two tours of duty in Iraq between 2003 and 2007, Army spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Garver said.
In that time, he'd advanced to the rank of sergeant and was awarded several medals, including the Purple Heart and a Bronze Star, and earned other marks for valor and good conduct, Garver said.
Hazel Leahy said her grandson's Purple Heart was awarded after he was shot in the neck.
She has a son and cousin who served in the military and said she's seen firsthand how the combat experience changes people. She said the Army "betrayed" her grandson by prosecuting him for actions that occurred under duress.
In closing arguments Friday, Leahy's civilian lawyer, Frank Spinner, argued his client went along with the killings because he was dazed from a lack of sleep and numb from being in a war zone for months. Col. Charles Hoge, a doctor and director of psychology and neuroscience at the Army's Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, testified Leahy was unable to reason properly because of the constant danger of living and operating in a war zone and getting little sleep for months on end.
It was earlier reported that Leahy and the other accused soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division in Iraq, had taken the Iraqi militia members to the U.S. operating base in Baghdad for questioning. But when they did not have evidence to hold them for attacking Leahy's unit, they were told to release the prisoners.
Leahy had told prosecutors that a first sergeant in the unit told him and the others to kill the prisoners in retribution for the attack, which claimed the lives of two U.S. soldiers.
Sgt. 1st Class Joseph P. Mayo, 27, will be court-martialed on charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and obstruction of justice stemming from the spring 2007 incident, the military said in a statement.
At a hearing last month, Mayo’s attorney told a military panel there was not enough evidence to bring his client before a court-martial.
Originally posted by sueloujo
It is sad that these things are happening in this world. I think far worse than this probably went on too. The persons that should be sent down for life in all this is the Bush/Blair alliance.