We learned today that in addition to following the high profile courts martial of Sgt Michael Leahy in Germany and Sgt Jermaine Nelson in Camp Pendleton, we are going to need to watch things in the Bluegrass state as well. The court martial of SSgt Hal Warner, according to a local news report here, will be short circuited by a plea agreement. According to local news reports, SSgt Warner will “plead guilty to charges of assault, maltreatment and making a false official statement.” The report also quotes Warner’s lawyer, Ed Smith, as saying that the deal “calls for charges of premeditated murder, accessory after the fact to murder and obstruction to justice to be dismissed.” Warner along with 1stLt Michael Behenna are accused of killing an Iraqi detainee in Tikrit. According to news reports, here, preliminary hearings ended up excluding Warner’s confessions, though I am guessing his co-accused won’t be so lucky in excluding that evidence.
Testimony in the Leahy case began yesterday. According to AP, here, SSgt Jess Cunningham’s testimony put a pistol in Sgt Leahy’s hand as he walked toward the blindfolded and handcuffed detainees and just before he heard shots that killed the four detainees. According to the report, Cunningham testified that Leahy’s co-accused, Sgt Hatley, asked Cunningham to participate, but he refused.
According to the ever reliable North County Times, here, the Sgt Jermaine Nelson court-martial appears to be stalled with pre-trial motions. According to the report, defense counsel Phil Simmons is objecting to the expert on PTSD provided to the defense now that the government has hired a world renowned PTSD expert. Reports say defense counsel want an equally qualified expert, since there own conceded that he is “not as qualified as the prosecution’s expert,” or at least the one they originally requested.