As we reported, here, Sgt Michael Leahy was convicted last week in the killing of four Iraqi detainees near Baghdad in March 2007. He received a life sentence, see coverage here. Two excerpts from what I believe are the sentencing arguments by Frank Spinner and Trial Counsel, Capt. Derrick Grace, pretty much sum up the case, see AP (courtesy of ABC) story here.
Spinner: “The tragedy resulted not so much by design but rather the working of fear, danger and madness attendant on many combat operations,” Spinner said in his closing arguments.
Grace: “The defense can’t just stand there and throw their arms up and say: ‘We were protecting ourselves from future harm,'” Army Capt. Derrick Grace, the lead prosecutor, said, adding that the killings were the result of a breakdown of discipline and moral responsibility.
We also learned yesterday that the Army dropped all charges against one of Leahy’s former co-accused, Sgt. Charles Quigley, see Stars and Stripes report here. As the story notes, apparently the Army had been pressing forward with a court-martial, scheduled to begin yesterday, in spite of indications that Quigley was not involved and his assistance in the investigation (including wearing a wire in a meeting with some of his co-accused). What turned the tide, and resulted in the dismissal, was the testimony of Quigley’s boss, SSgt Jess Cunningham, that Quigley was not involved. Quigley will reportedly, WaPo report here, face Captain’s Mast (Art. 15, for the unseaworthy) for not reporting the incident.