BAGHDAD (AP) – A pretrial hearing started Saturday for one of two U.S. soldiers charged with murdering an Iraqi detainee and lying about it earlier this year.
The hearing was held at a U.S. base near Tikrit for Staff Sgt. Hal M. Warner, of Braggs, Oklahoma, the U.S. military said.
The hearing falls under Article 32 of the U.S. military penal code and will determine whether there is sufficient evidence for a court-martial. It is equivalent to a civilian preliminary hearing.
The military has charged Warner and 1st Lt. Michael C. Behenna with shooting the Iraqi detainee, Ali Mansour Mohammed, at or near their forward operating base near Beiji, 155 miles (250 kilometers) north of Baghdad.
The military said Mohammed was initially thought to have been released from custody on or around May 16. The Article 32 hearing for Behenna, who is from Edmond, Oklahoma, is scheduled for Sept. 20.
The men face charges of premeditated murder, assault, making a false official statement and obstruction of justice, according to the U.S. military. Warner is also charged with being an accessory after the fact.
The military said the men could face life in prison without parole if tried and convicted. Both are assigned to D Company, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division from Fort Campbell, Kentucky.