Third US Army sergeant convicted of killing Iraqi detainees

US Army Master Sgt. John Hatley was convicted of murder and conspiracy in court-martial proceedings April 15 for the killing of four unarmed Iraqi prisoners in 2007 and sentenced to life with the possibility of parole. Hatley was acquitted of obstruction of justice and also of murder for the separate death of a seriously wounded detainee in early January 2007. Hatley, along with Sgt. Michael Leahy, Jr. and Sgt. 1st Class John Mayo, was charged in September with premeditated murder, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice. He had requested six more months to complete his 20 years of service in the armed forces, but was denied.

Hatley is the third of seven soldiers allegedly involved in the incident to be tried and found guilty of charges. Last month, Mayo was convicted and sentenced to 35 years in prison on charges of premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit premeditated murder after he pleaded guilty at his court-martial proceedings. He also agreed to testify against Hatley. Leahy was convicted in February and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. Staff Sgt. Jess Cunningham, originally an alleged co-conspirator against whom charges were dropped, testified against Leahy at his trial. Fellow unit members Spc. Belmor Ramon and Spc. Steven Ribordy pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy and accessory to murder, respectively, in connection with the incident. (Jurist, April 16)

See our last post on US atrocities in Iraq.

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