Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Soldier pleads not guilty in Iraq detainee’s death | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page

FORT CAMPBELL, Kentucky (AP) – One of two 101st Airborne Division soldiers charged in the shooting death of an Iraqi detainee pleaded not guilty Monday, but his attorney said a plea agreement is still possible.

Staff Sgt. Hal M. Warner pleaded not guilty to premeditated murder, accessory to murder, assault, obstruction of justice and making a false official statement. A military judge set his court-martial for Feb. 16.

Warner is charged along with 1st Lt. Michael C. Behenna in the death of Ali Mansour Mohammed in May. Behenna was arraigned separately Monday but didn’t enter a plea. His attorney, Jack Zimmmerman, said Behenna will enter a plea of not guilty at a later date to charges of premeditated murder, assault and making a false official statement. He’ll be tried separately and has a court martial scheduled for Feb. 23.

Both are assigned to the Fort Campbell-based division that is currently finishing deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Military prosecutors claim Behenna stripped the detainee naked, shot him in the head and chest and watched as Warner set fire to the body with a grenade.

Behenna is the son of Vicki Behenna, a federal prosecutor who helped convict Timothy McVeigh for his role in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Neither Behenna nor Warner is being held in custody before

the trial.

During hearings earlier this year in Iraq, prosecutors presented several witnesses, including soldiers who were part of same convoy on the day of the killing. One of the key witnesses in the prosecution’s case is an Iraqi translator, identified only as “Harry,” who said he saw Behenna shoot the detainee on May 16 in a tunnel near their base near Beiji, 155 miles (250 kilometers) north of Baghdad.