U.S. marine found guilty of killing Iraqi soldier

A U.S. Marine lance corporal was found guilty both of negligent homicide in the stabbing death of an Iraqi soldier and of lying to superiors about the incident, a military jury said.

U.S. marine found guilty of killing Iraqi soldier

But the jury -- five enlisted Marines and three officers, all of whom have served in Iraq -- relieved Delano Holmes of the most serious charge of unpremeditated murder, which could have brought a life sentence.

The lying and negligent homicide charges carry a maximum penalty of eight years in prison and a dishonorable discharge, said the court-martial judge Lt. Col. Jeffrey Meeks in Camp Pendleton, California.

The same jury will set Holmes' sentence after hearing testimony from defense and prosecution witnesses. The jury could order him released without additional time behind bars. Holmes, 22, from Indianapolis, Indiana, has been in the brig since May.

The verdict and sentence will be sent to Lt. Gen. Samuel Helland, commanding general of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. Helland can set aside the verdict or reduce the sentence.

Holmes killed the Iraqi soldier, Private Munther Jasem Muhammed Hassin, during a nighttime sentry duty in Fallouja, Iraq, on New Year's Eve last year.

Holmes asserted that Hassin was trying to signal insurgent snipers by lighting a cigarette and using a lighted cell phone. When Hassin refused to put down the cigarette and phone, the two began fighting and the Iraqi reached for his AK-47, Holmes told investigators.

Prosecutors accused Holmes of repeatedly stabbing Hassin with his bayonet while they were together in a tiny sentry post.

An autopsy on Hassin found 17 stab wounds, 26 cuts and one chop that nearly severed his nose, prosecutors said.

"Pvt. Hassin was an ally of the United States," Capt. Brett Miner, one of the prosecutors, told jurors. "There was no evidence he was (linked to insurgents), or anything but a peaceful guy.


Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 14 Aralık 2007, 15:05
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