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Soldier Acquitted in Alleged Drowning of Iraqi Civilian

January 08, 2005|From Associated Press

FORT HOOD, Texas — An Army sergeant charged in the alleged drowning death of an Iraqi civilian was acquitted Friday night of involuntary manslaughter but convicted of assault by a military panel.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Tracy Perkins was charged in connection with a January 2004 incident near Samarra, Iraq, when two Iraqi curfew violators were forced into the Tigris River at gunpoint by U.S. soldiers.

Prosecutors say one of the Iraqis drowned, which the defense denied.

The six-man jury of Army officers and enlisted members, who deliberated 17 hours over two days, considered lesser charges against Perkins. They convicted him of assault consummated by battery in Zaidoun Fadel Hassoun's purported death.

Perkins, with 14 years of military service, was found guilty of aggravated assault in connection with Marwan Fadel Hassoun, who survived.

The military panel will hold a sentencing hearing today.

Defense attorney Capt. Joshua Norris said the panel should not convict Perkins because there was "no body, no evidence, no death."

Soldiers testified that both men made it safely to shore and that the death may have been faked.

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