Sergeant to face court-martial in deaths of Iraqis

By STEVE MRAZ | STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 14, 2009

Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Mayo will face court-martial on charges of premeditated murder, conspiracy to commit premeditated murder and obstruction of justice for his role in the alleged shooting of Iraqi detainees in 2007.

Charges were referred against Mayo, 27, on Monday, according to a 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command statement issued Tuesday afternoon.

Formerly assigned to 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment of the 1st Infantry Division, Mayo is one of seven charged in the alleged incident. Two have been convicted, and the others await trial.

During Mayo’s Article 32 hearing in December, soldiers who were with him and the others when the alleged victims were detained testified that they found four Iraqi men with a large cache of weapons, ammunition and military equipment, including night-vision goggles, body armor, grenades, machine guns and thousands of bullets.

U.S. soldiers who allegedly executed the four detainees in Baghdad were frustrated that dangerous insurgents they had captured in the past were put back on the streets, according to testimony during the hearing.

A date for Mayo’s court-martial has not been set. Two other soldiers, Master Sgt. John E. Hatley and Sgt. Michael P. Leahy Jr., face courts-martial for their alleged parts in the killings. Leahy’s court-martial is scheduled to begin in Vilseck, Germany, on Feb. 17, according to an Army document.

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