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Archive for Saturday, February 28, 2009

Soldier found guilty of murdering detainee

February 28, 2009

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— An Army officer who shot and killed an Iraqi detainee during an interrogation was convicted of murder Friday night by a military jury.

First Lt. Michael Behenna of Edmond, Okla., avoided conviction on the more serious charge of premeditated murder in the death of the detainee he took aside for questioning last May. A military panel of seven officers at Fort Campbell also found him guilty of assault but acquitted him of making a false statement after three hours of deliberation.

A sentencing hearing was scheduled for today, and Behenna faces up to life in prison on the murder conviction. The more serious premeditated offense would have resulted in an automatic life without parole sentence.

Behenna has testified that he was trying to defend himself when he shot Ali Mansour Mohammed and that the detainee reached for his gun in a secluded railroad culvert near Beiji, Iraq. Behenna said he hadn’t intended to kill him.

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