Batiste weighs fate of soldier accused in death of Iraqi civilian
At the request of defense attorneys, the 1st Infantry Division commander has delayed a decision on whether a soldier accused of wrongly killing an Iraqi civilian will face a court-martial, a 1st ID spokesman said Friday.
Maj. Gen. John R.S. Batiste has been studying an Article 32 investigation and had been expected to decide this week whether the soldier — Pfc. Edward L. Richmond, 20, of the Hawaii-based 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment — will be charged with murder, said Capt. William Coppernoll.
The unit is part of the 25th Infantry Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, which is based in the north-central Iraqi city of Kirkuk under 1st ID command. In January, it took over military control in the Kirkuk area from the Italy-based 173rd Airborne Brigade.
Richmond is accused of shooting the man Feb. 28 while members of his platoon attempted to arrest him during a roundup of suspected terrorists in al-Hawijah, a city southwest of Kirkuk that has been a center of insurgency since the U.S. invasion last spring.
Coppernoll said a single charge of unpremeditated murder was preferred against Richmond on April 5.
That prompted an Article 32 investigation — similar to a grand jury hearing in civilian court — to advise Batiste whether the charge should be referred to a court-martial.