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Sergeant formally charged in shooting deaths of fellow soldiers in Iraq

WASHINGTON — An Army sergeant suspected of fatally shooting five fellow soldiers in Iraq was arraigned Monday in a military court near Tacoma, Washington.

Sergeant John Russell is accused of going on a shooting spree in hospital for traumatized soldiers near Baghdad in May of 2009. He faces five charges of premeditated murder, one charge of attempted murder and one charge of aggravated assault, broadcaster KGMI in Tacoma reported.

Russell made no statement at the arraignment, the report said. After the shootings the military said Russell might have been set off by combat stress.

He could be sentenced to death if found guilty. An Army colonel who presided over a preliminary hearing earlier this year called the death penalty inappropriate punishment for Russell.
 

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