CINCINNATI — A man in Iraqi custody has confessed to killing a U.S. soldier whose remains were found in 2008, four years after he was kidnapped by insurgents and a video showed him surrounded by armed captors, an Army spokeswoman said Friday.
A hearing in the case is set for Tuesday in an Iraqi court, though it's unclear if the man who confessed to killing Sgt. Matt Maupin will attend. Maupin, of Batavia in southwestern Ohio, was captured when insurgents with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms ambushed his fuel convoy near Baghdad on April 9, 2004.
Shortly after, the haunting video of the 20-year-old soldier was released showing him sitting on the floor surrounded by masked gunmen.
Maupin's family held out hope that he was still alive, but the U.S. military found Maupin's skeletal remains in March 2008 in a shallow grave near Baghdad.
Lt. Col. Alayne Conway, an Army spokeswoman, told the AP on Friday that a man in custody in Iraq confessed to killing Maupin. Conway was unable to provide further details, including the man's identity or nationality.
She referred questions to Rodney Ford, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. He did not immediately respond to a request for more details Friday.
An Iraqi judge who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly to journalists told the AP on Friday that the man who confessed is Iraqi and is jailed in Baghdad.
The judge said the man initially confessed to Maupin's killing in 2009, and was tried and sentenced to death. He is being retried, because there was something wrong in the paperwork about the initial investigation, the judge said.
The judge said the defendant was an al-Qaida leader involved in the killing of Iraqi soldiers. The judge refused to name the suspect or give more information about him and said no date had been set for the new trial.
If the man confessed in 2009, Maupin's father, Keith Maupin, didn't know about it.
Keith Maupin, 63, of Cincinnati, said that an official with the Army's Office of the Judge Advocate called him six weeks ago to tell him about the confession.
"It was truly a surprise. I figured it was going to go away," he said. "It won't change what happened, but this guy will have to be held accountable soon. ... If that means he's put to death then so be it."
Maupin said he will travel to Washington, D.C., to attend Tuesday's hearing via video teleconference and will ask U.S. officials for more details about the man.
Maupin, who had fought for years to find out what happened to his son, said seeing his killer meet justice isn't about revenge.
"They can't hurt him no more and that's what's important to me," he said.
Associated Press writers Qassim Abdul-Zahra in Baghdad and Bob Burns in Washington contributed to this report.
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