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1st DIV SOLDIERS
ACCUSED OF MURDERING 
FOUR DETAINEES

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Sgt. Michael Leahy, Jr. was convicted of murder on February 20, 2009. Read more here.

 

Charges have been dropped against SGT Charles Quigley

We received the following statement on February 24, 2009 from Scot Sikes, SGT Quigley's civilian attorney:    

SGT Charles Quigley and his family cannot overstate their relief and sincere appreciation for BG Hogg’s decision today to withdraw the General Court-Martial conspiracy charge pending against the Soldier since July 2008. 

We have maintained from the beginning that SGT Quigley is not guilty of conspiring with other members of his unit to do anything unlawful to detainees.  SGT Quigley was completely forthcoming with Army CID early last year, and the Article 32 investigation in October 2008 yielded a telling recommendation from the Investigating Officer. 

Despite indications the allegation against SGT Quigley was without sufficient basis, the Government sent the charge forward. 

We believe that recent revelations from SSG Cunningham, SGT Quigley’s former squad leader in Iraq, have helped the voice of reason to ring loudly --- albeit on the eve of trial.  While the defense was prepared to sound that bell at trial, we are pleased that the Army leadership has chosen “to do the right thing” today and withdraw the charge with prejudice. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Scot Sikes, SGT Quigley’s civilian defense counsel, and CPT Sam Gregory, his detailed military defense counsel, are proud to have had the privilege of representing SGT Quigley.   

SGT Quigley represents the best among us, and we are hopeful that he will be able to put these matters behind him and continue to be that good and productive member we know him to be. Soldiers are the Army’s most precious assets, and we should never forget that doubt and uncertainty must always be cast in their direction.

 Read more here from the Providence Journal, Charge against R.I. soldier is withdrawn, February 25, 2009 (pdf).

THE ACCUSED:

Four Iraqi prisoners were allegedly shot and dumped in a Baghdad canal by members of the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade — now part of the Grafenwöhr-based 172nd Infantry Brigade.

Sgt. Michael Leahy Jr., 26, of Lockport, Illinois, was charged with premeditated murder, conspiracy to commit premeditated murder and obstruction of justice. He also faced charges, including murder, for a separate incident in which a detainee was allegedly killed in January 2007.

Leahy was convicted of murder on February 20, 2009.

Several members of the unit have been convicted of lesser offenses. Two other alleged shooters — Sgt. Joseph Mayo, 27, and Sgt. John Hatley, 40, were charged with premeditated murder, conspiracy to commit premeditated murder and obstruction of justice.

Sgt. Jess Cunningham and Sgt. Charles Quigley were charged with conspiracy to commit premeditated murder. Their Article 32 concluded August 28, 2008. Charges were dropped against both men in February 2009.

Spc. Belmor Ramos and Spc. Steven Ribordy were charged with conspiracy to commit premeditated murder. Both men waived their rights to an Article 32 hearing, and their charges were referred to general courts-martial on September 8th by Brig. Gen. David R. Hogg, JMTC commander.

Ramos and Ribordy pleaded guilty to commit premeditated murder and were sentenced to prison. Both men agreed to testify against Leahy and three others. 

The soldiers were members of 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment at the time of the incident. The unit has since reflagged and is now part of the 172nd Infantry Brigade.

NEWS COVERAGE

Sgt. Charles Quigley, Charge against R.I. soldier is withdrawn, Providence Journal, February 25, 2009 (pdf).

Sgt. Michael Leahy Jr., US soldier guilty of Iraq murder, BBC, February 20, 2009 (pdf)

Sgt. Michael Leahy Jr., In video, Leahy tells of shooting Iraqi detainees, Seth Robinson, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, February 20, 2009 (pdf)

Sgt. Michael Leahy Jr.. Trial begins for GI accused in Iraqis' deaths, Seth Robinson, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, February 18, 2009 (pdf)

Sgt. Jess Cunningham / Leahy trial, US Army Sergeant will testify in Iraq slay trial, Associated Press, February 17, 2009 (pdf)

Spc. Belmor Ramos. US soldier jailed for Iraq deaths, BBC News, October 2, 2008.

Spc. Belmor Ramos. U.S. soldier sentenced over killing of Iraqis, Reuters, September 18, 2008.

BERLIN (Reuters) - A U.S. soldier who admitted involvement in the shooting of detainees in Iraq early last year has been sentenced to seven months in jail and will be dishonorably discharged, the army said on Thursday.

Specialist Belmor Ramos, 23, pleaded guilty at a court martial in Germany to charges of conspiracy to commit premeditated murder. He agreed to testify in the trials of other soldiers involved, the army said in a statement.

Ramos was present when four unarmed, handcuffed and blindfolded Iraqi detainees were allegedly shot dead near a canal in Baghdad in March or April 2007.

Three other U.S. soldiers have been identified by witnesses as the shooters: Sergeant First Class Joseph P. Mayo, the platoon sergeant, Sergeant Michael P. Leahy Jr., a senior medic and an acting squad leader, and First Sergeant John E. Hatley.

Criminal charges have been filed against Hatley, Mayo and Leahy, as well as against Staff Sergeant Jess Cunningham, Sergeant Charles Quigley and Specialist Stephen Ribordy, the army statement said on Thursday.

The sentence for Ramos included a reduction to the rank of private and the forfeiture of all pay and allowances, it added.

Iraq: Detainee death cases headed to trial (pdf), Stars and Stripes, September 13, 2008.

US Army hearing in death of 4 Iraqis ends (pdf), Associated Press, August 28, 2008.

US Soldiers Executed Iraqis, Statements Say (pdf), Paul von Zielbauer, New York Times, August 27, 2008.

Soldiers face Article 32 hearing over detainee deaths, Michelle Tan, Army Times, August 4, 2008.

Four soldiers charged with conspiracy to commit premeditated murder in connection with detainee deaths in Iraq in spring 2007 will have an Article 32 hearing Aug. 26 in Vilseck, Germany, officials have announced.

The hearing, which is similar to a civilian grand jury proceeding, will help the investigating officer and convening authority determine if the soldiers should be court-martialed.

The four soldiers are Staff Sgt. Jess Cunningham, Sgt. Charles Quigley, Spc. Stephen Ribordy and Spc. Belmor Ramos. They are assigned to D Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 172nd Infantry Brigade, in Grafenwoehr, Germany.

According to the charge sheets, each soldier is accused of conspiring with his fellow soldiers to kill male detainees of apparent Middle Eastern descent on or around March 10, 2007, and April 16, 2007, by taking them to a canal in or near Baghdad and shooting them. The names of the detainees are unknown, according to the charge sheets.

No other details, including the number of detainees involved and whether the detainees were wounded or killed, were available.

At the time of the incident, the soldiers were deployed with 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division.

The brigade returned to Schweinfurt, Germany, in November after a 15-month deployment in Iraq. It was later reflagged to the 172nd and moved to Grafenwoehr. The brigade is scheduled to deploy to Iraq late this fall.

The soldiers accused in this case are not in pre-trial confinement and they have been assigned military attorneys, according to information provided by the 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command in Grafenwoehr.

In addition, authorities have not determined who will be called as witnesses to testify during the Article 32, according to information from the command. The decision will be made by the investigating officer for the Article 32 based on the evidence and recommendations provided to him by the prosecuting and defense attorneys.

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