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U.S. soldier apologizes for role in 4 Iraqis' deaths

March 31, 2009|Associated Press

VILSECK, GERMANY — A U.S. soldier convicted of murder in the execution-style slayings of four blindfolded Iraqis apologized for shooting one of them in the back of the head, but said he acted out of concern for his fellow troops.

"Nothing is harder than losing a soldier," Sgt. 1st Class Joseph P. Mayo said in closing arguments after he was found guilty of murder. "Or calling a mother or a wife and telling them that you tried, but wondering if you did enough. I apologize to the military for what I've done."

Mayo, 27, of Ft. Bragg, N.C., told the court that he shot one of the Iraqis with a 9-millimeter pistol. He was sentenced to 35 years with the possibility of parole and will be held at the military prison at Ft. Leavenworth, Kan.

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