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2 U.S. soldiers face murder charges

August 03, 2008|From the Associated Press

BAGHDAD — Two U.S. soldiers have been charged with premeditated murder in the shooting of an Iraqi detainee north of Baghdad, the military said Saturday.

Army Staff Sgt. Hal M. Warner and 1st Lt. Michael C. Behenna were accused of shooting the detainee "at or near" their forward operating base and then lying about it, according to the military.

Both also face charges of assault, making a false official statement and obstruction of justice, according to a statement. Warner faces an additional charge of accessory after the fact, it said.

The military said the slain detainee, Ali Mansour Mohammed, was initially believed to have been released from U.S. custody around May 16.

But Warner and Behenna are accused of killing him "by means of shooting him with a pistol," according to the charge specifications.

Warner was formally charged on July 13, and Behenna on July 31, the military said.

The announcement said the soldiers were assigned to D Company, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry, and were serving at Forward Operating Base Summerall near the northern oil hub of Baiji.

Maj. Peggy Kageleiry, a U.S. military spokeswoman in northern Iraq, said she could not release more details surrounding the detainee's death because the investigation was ongoing. But she provided the charge specifications.

The hometowns and ages of the two soldiers were not revealed.

The military said the potential punishment could include life imprisonment without parole, depending on the results of the investigation.

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