FT. MEADE, Md. — An Army dog handler charged with using his animal to terrify Abu Ghraib prisoners laughingly claimed he was competing with a comrade to frighten detainees into soiling themselves, according to testimony Tuesday at his court-martial.
The testimony on the second day of the trial was the most damaging evidence yet against Sgt. Michael J. Smith.
The witness, Sgt. John H. Ketzer, was an interrogator at the prison in Iraq in 2003 and 2004.
Ketzer testified that one night, he followed the sounds of screaming to a cell where Smith's black Belgian shepherd was straining against its leash and barking at two cowering, teenage boys.
Ketzer said Smith laughingly told him afterward: "My buddy and I are having a contest to see if we can get them to [defecate on] themselves because we've already had some [urinate on] themselves."
Under cross-examination, Ketzer said he thought Smith was joking about the contest.
Smith, 24, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is accused of using his dog to harass, threaten and assault detainees in 2003 and 2004 -- during the same period in which guards at Abu Ghraib photographed inmates in sexually humiliating poses.