US sergeant jailed for murder of prisoners in Iraq

31st March 2009, Comments 1 comment

The defence said the murders had occurred in part because of a legal and logistical situation in Iraq that often prevented US troops from holding detainees for long enough.

Vilseck -- A US sergeant was sentenced on Monday by a court martial in Germany to serve no more than 35 years in prison on Monday for murdering four prisoners in Iraq in 2007.

Sergeant First Class Joseph P. Mayo, 27, will be eligible for parole in 10 years, the court ruled. Earlier Monday he was convicted of taking part in the summary executions of four bound and blindfolded prisoners in Baghdad in 2007.

"Our objective is to get him out of prison as quickly as possible," defence lawyer Michael Waddington told reporters after the court adjourned.

Waddington said the murders had occurred in part because of a legal and logistical situation in Iraq that often prevented US troops from holding detainees for long enough.

"We don't provide our troops with the support they need," he said.

Although the court sentenced Mayo to life in prison, he benefited from a US military law to give him a lighter sentence established under a pre-trial agreement with the commander of his unit, an army spokesman said.

Mayo reached the agreement in exchange for pleading guilty to one count of premeditated murder and one count of conspiracy to commit premeditated murder in connection with the deaths.

He and two other US sergeants were charged over the deaths.

Sergeant Michael P. Leahy, Jr., who pleaded not guilty, has already been sentenced to life in prison, while First Sergeant John E. Hatley is to stand trial near this southern German town on April 13, the army said last week.

Hatley is also charged with similar crimes stemming from a separate incident in Iraq.

AFP/Expatica

1 Comment To This Article

  • R.Richard Fusilier posted:

    on 31st March 2009, 19:52:23 - Reply

    This smells! They get sent to Iraq to fight the murderous enemy and using common sense in view and furtherance of the goal, gets such a charge and sentence. ?!