Archive for Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Deliberations in officer’s murder hearings continue

Army investigator gives no timetable for completion

November 23, 2005


— An Army investigator continues to deliberate whether a young infantry officer should stand court martial for murder and numerous other crimes.

Maj. James Ball has had the case of 2nd Lt. Erick J. Anderson since conclusion of a two-day hearing last week at Fort Riley.

Anderson is charged with two counts of murder, two counts of conspiracy, making a false statement, dereliction of duty and conduct unbecoming an officer for allegedly authorizing the shooting deaths of Iraqi civilians by soldiers under his command. If convicted, Anderson, 26, of Twinsburg, Ohio, could face life in prison.

During the hearing, Ball heard testimony from men who served in Anderson's platoon, part of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry, as well as Anderson's superior officers. Ball, who is not a lawyer, now must sift through that testimony, as well as previous statements made to Army investigators and decide whether Anderson faces a court martial. Ball also could recommend nonjudicial punishment.

Ball gave no timetable for his decision, and he was still deliberating Tuesday. His decision will be reviewed by Fort Riley authorities before being made public.

The shootings in question occurred while Anderson and his platoon were deployed to Iraq in 2004 and were conducting missions near Sadr City.

On Aug. 18, 2004, Anderson's platoon fired on a dump truck carrying civilians that was believed to be tossing bombs out along the roadside. The platoon fired on the truck, killing several civilians and severely wounding others, including a teenager.

Two soldiers, Pvt. Johnny Horne Jr., of Wilson, N.C., and Pvt. Cardenas Alban, of Inglewood, Calif., were convicted of killing the boy, which they described as a "mercy killing" because of the extent of his injuries. Anderson is accused of authorizing the shooting.

A second murder charge against Anderson alleges he authorized Pvt. Michael Williams, of Memphis, Tenn., to kill an injured Iraqi civilian on Aug. 28, 2004, while searching buildings in Sadr City.


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