US soldier faces court martial

2009-04-12 14:02
Frankfurt - A US sergeant is to face a court martial on Monday on murder charges over four Iraqi detainees who prosecutors and co-defendants say were bound, blindfolded and shot in the head.

Master Sergeant John E. Hatley, 40, is charged with premeditated murder, conspiracy to commit premeditated murder and obstruction of justice, according to an army statement.

The charges are related to the killings of prisoners in March or April 2007 near Baghdad.

Two other non-commissioned officers - Sergeant Michael Leahy, a medic, and Sergeant First Class Joseph Mayo - have been found guilty of taking part in the killings and sentenced to life and 35 years in prison.

According to testimony from Mayo's trial, at which he pleaded guilty, all three sergeants shot the prisoners in the back of the head with nine-millimetre pistols.

Mayo, 27, said: "I really believed I was protecting my soldiers" because he believed the men, who he said were captured with assault rifles and a duffel bag full of ammunition, would mount attacks on US troops in the future.

Two sniper rifles were also found nearby and the US unit, which belonged to the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, then part of the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division, had seen a sergeant killed by a sniper a few weeks earlier.

A total of seven US soldiers were implicated in the case, but only the three sergeants have been tried for murder.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.