GIESSEN, Germany — A U.S. soldier burst into tears when a military panel cleared him Tuesday of the accidental shooting death of a 6-year-old boy in Kosovo, closing a trial that threatened to strain relations between U.S. troops and ethnic Albanians.
Pfc. Nicholas Young of Sacramento, who was 19 at the time of the July 10 shooting, was cleared of charges of negligent homicide and dereliction of duty. He had been serving as a peacekeeper in Kosovo.
A neuropsychologist testified that Young suffered from a severe learning disability--providing what appeared to be the most convincing evidence that the soldier's superiors should not have allowed him to carry the automatic weapon he was given in Kosovo, a province of Serbia, the main Yugoslav republic.
"I think it's fair to say that our client and his mother are pleased with the result," said Maj. Mark Johnson, one of Young's lawyers.