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101st SOLDIERS
ACCUSED OF MURDERING
ALI MONSOUR MOHAMMED,
AN IRAQI DETAINEE

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On February 27, 2009, 1st Lt Michael Behenna, of Edmond, Oklahoma, was convicted of murder and assault for shooting and killing an Iraqi detainee during an interrogation. He was acquitted of making a false statement. Behenna was sentenced to 25 years in prison by a military jury.

Despite the fact the our government withheld exculpatory evidence, Behenna has been denied a new trial. For more information visit this site.

Staff Sgt. Hal Warner, pleaded guilty in February 2009 to charges of assault, maltreatment of a subordinate and making a false statement. Warner, from Braggs, Oklahoma, was sentenced to 17 months in prison and testified against Behenna.

Read more about Behenna's sentencing here (pdf). There is coverage of the Behenna trial here.

To aid in the ongoing defense of Michael Behenna, please visit DefendMichael.com.

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Original charges:

1st Lt Michael Behenna and SSgt Hal Mitch Warner, D Company, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division. 

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.

1st Lt Behenna's Article 32 hearing was held on September 20, 2008 at Camp Speicher, a base near Tikrit, north of Baghdad, Iraq.

SSgt Warner faced an Article 32 investigative hearing in Tikrit from September 13-14.

 

From a family member: A letter to an accused soldier

 

News coverage

US soldier accused of abusing and killing Iraqi (pdf), Vanessa Gera, Associated Press, September 21, 2008.

Iraqi translator tells US soldier's hearing of gruesome murder, (pdf), AFP, September 14, 2008.

US soldier accused of murdering Iraqi in pre-trial hearing (pdf), AFP, September 13, 2008.

SSgt Warner. US soldier accused of murdering Iraqi in pre-trial hearing (pdf), AFP, September 13, 2008.

1st Lt Michael Behenna, Hearing scheduled for Edmond soldier (pdf), Edmond Sun, September 10, 2008.

SSgt Warner. Hearing on Iraq detainee death case postponed, Stars and Stripes, August 19, 2008.

The Article 32 hearing for one of two U.S. soldiers charged with killing a detainee near Beiji, Iraq, has been postponed until Sept. 5, military officials said.

Staff Sgt. Hal M. Warner was originally to face the hearing last week. Warner and 1st Lt. Michael C. Behenna, both members of Company D, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, based in Fort Campbell, Ky., face charges of premeditated murder, accessory after the fact, assault, making a false official statement and obstruction of justice.

Few details have been released in the case, though the military said that "the charges followed a criminal investigation into the death of Ali Mansur Mohamed, a detainee initially believed to have been released by Coalition Forces on or about May 16, 2008."

The military has said that Behenna was accused of using a pistol to shoot Mohamed at or near Forward Operating Base Summerall.

Warner’s hearing will be held at the large U.S. base near the city of Tikrit. A hearing date has not yet been set for Behenna, officials said. The pair were originally charged in July.

In the weeks since the charges were announced, family members have publicly come to the defense of the two soldiers.

Behenna, whose parents are a federal prosecutor in Oklahoma City and a retired Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agent, have hired a civilian law firm to lead his defense. That team successfully defended a Marine lance corporal who was accused of killing an Iraqi civilian during a November 2005 incident in Haditha. Charges against the Marine were eventually dropped.

Less is known about Warner, 34, who is also from Oklahoma.

Lt Behenna. Iraq soldier to plead not guilty to murder charge, Edmond Sun, August 18, 2008 (click at the link for a pdf)

Lt Behenna. Soldier from Edmond to fight murder charges, Associated Press via Tulsa World, August 15, 2008. (click at the link for a pdf)

SSgt Warner. Acquaintance: Braggs soldier not capable of charges he faces, Muskogee Phoenix, August 5, 2008 (click at the link for a pdf).

SSgt Warner. Brother: GI will be vindicated in detainee killing, Manny Gamallo, Tulsa World, August 5, 2008 (click at the link for a pdf).

Saturday's announcement of the charges did not come as a surprise to Warner's relatives, who have lived in the Braggs community for more than 25 years.

"We've been receiving e-mails from my brother, so we knew it was coming," Sgt. 1st Class Ryan Warner, 32, a member of the 82nd Airborne Division, said by telephone.

Ryan Warner would not discuss the case against his brother but said he believes that he eventually will be cleared.

He said the family has hired attorney James Phillips of Clarksville, Tenn., to represent his brother.

Phillips could not be reached for comment.

Ryan Warner said he and his brother are "military brats" and were inspired to join the Army by some family members, in particular their father, retired Army Master Sgt. Hal Lee Warner.

Ryan Warner, who has served one tour of duty in Iraq, said his brother is serving his third tour there.

He said Hal Warner is a member of the 101st Airborne Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

Ryan Warner said his brother joined the Oklahoma Army National Guard right out of high school and then enlisted with the active-duty Army.

Lt Behenna and SSgt Warner: Two US soldiers charged with murdering Iraqi prisoner, AFP, August 2, 2008. 

First Lieutenant Michael Behenna and Staff Sergeant Hal Warner were each charged with multiple offences following the death of Ali Mansur Mohammed, the US military said.

"Behenna has been charged with pre-meditated murder, assault, making a false official statement and obstruction of justice," it said.

The charge sheet said Behenna was accused of using a pistol to shoot Mohammed "at or near Forward Operating Base Summerall, Iraq."

Warner was charged with "pre-meditated murder, accessory after the fact, assault, making a false official statement and obstruction of justice," the statement said.

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