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U.S. soldier charged with murder in contractor slaying in Iraq

Army Spc. Beyshee Velez, who was already in custody, is charged with murder in the Sept. 13 shooting of a KBR employee at a U.S. base near Tikrit.

September 23, 2009|From a Times Staff Writer

The U.S. military announced Tuesday that a soldier had been formally charged with murder in the slaying of a civilian contractor who was shot this month on a base in northern Iraq.

Army Spc. Beyshee Velez, who was already in custody, was charged Monday in the killing of an employee of Houston-based KBR on Sept. 13 at the U.S. base Camp Speicher near Tikrit.

The 31-year-old soldier, who is being held in Hawaii, faces two counts of murder, three counts of assault and one count of fleeing apprehension in the death of contractor Lucas Vinson, 27, the military said in a statement.

The soldier could face a dishonorable discharge and life in prison if convicted.

Velez was with the 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the 25th Infantry Division.

The military said it had no further information on the case. KBR provides U.S. military bases in Iraq with housing, catering and other services.

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