U.S. sniper sentenced
to time served
Michael Hensley is demoted and given a
reprimand for planting a weapon by a slain Iraqi and disrespecting
an Army officer.
By Ned Parker
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
November 10, 2007
BAGHDAD — A U.S. Army sniper cleared of murder charges was
sentenced Friday to time served, given a reprimand and demoted on
lesser charges of planting a weapon by the body of a slain Iraqi and
disrespecting an officer.
Michael A. Hensley, from the 25th Infantry Division's 1st Battalion,
501st Infantry Regiment, was acquitted Thursday on charges of
murdering three Iraqis in the spring. He had spent 135 days in
detention when the trial finished.
In addition to the reprimand, Hensley was demoted from staff
sergeant to sergeant. The reprimand in effect bars him from
promotion. Before the sentencing, Hensley apologized to fellow
soldiers for his actions, while his peers called him a model
Hensley's section came under investigation after two members told
the Army's criminal investigation division that some of the
platoon's snipers were shooting people and then planting weapons
near the bodies.
The platoon's first lieutenant said in a deposition that some
members of the unit also had been instructed under a classified
"baiting program" to plant weapons in suspected insurgent areas and
shoot Iraqis who tried to pick them up. U.S. military officers in
Baghdad have denied the existence of any such program. The court
barred most classified material from Hensley's court-martial.
One soldier from Hensley's unit, Jorge G. Sandoval Jr., was demoted
from specialist to private and is serving a 44-day sentence for
planting a detonation cord on the body of an Iraqi.
A pretrial hearing for Hensley's final co-defendant, Sgt. Evan Vela,
is scheduled to begin Sunday.