2 Fort Campbell soldiers charged in detainee death

The Associated Press

FORT CAMPBELL, KY. — A hearing has been reset for one of two Fort Campbell soldiers charged with premeditated murder for the shooting death of an Iraqi detainee north of Baghdad.

According to the military, Staff Sgt. Hal M. Warner and 1st Lt. Michael C. Behenna, both of Oklahoma, were accused of shooting the detainee “at or near” their forward operating base near Bayji and then lying about it.

Maj. Peggy Kageleiry, an Army spokeswoman in Iraq, said Friday that an Article 32 hearing for Warner was set to begin Aug. 15, but has been reset for Sept. 5.

An Article 32 hearing is equivalent to a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is sufficient evidence for a court-martial. A hearing date for Behenna has not yet been set.

The military said the slain detainee, Ali Mansour Mohammed, was initially believed to have been released from U.S. detention around May 16. Warner and Behenna allegedly killed him “by means of shooting him with a pistol,” according to the charge specifications.

Both soldiers are assigned to D Company, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division. Both face charges of premeditated murder, assault, making a false official statement and obstruction of justice, according to a statement. Warner faces an additional charge of accessory after the fact.

Warner, from Braggs, Okla., was formally charged on July 13, and Behenna, from Edmond, Okla., on July 31, the military said.

The military said punishment could include the possibility of life imprisonment without parole, depending on the results of the investigation.

An attorney for Behenna, Jack Zimmerman, has said he will fight the charges. Behenna is the son of a federal prosecutor in Oklahoma City and a retired Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agent.

His mother, Vicki Behenna, helped convict Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, and his father, Scott Behenna, was part of the investigation that led to criminal charges against former Gov. David Walters.

Following the 101st Airborne’s last deployment to Iraq in 2006, four Fort Campbell soldiers were charged in the deaths of three Iraqi detainees. The soldiers received sentences between 18 years and nine months in prison for their roles in the deaths during a May 9, 2006, raid near Samarra, Iraq.

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