GI waives Article 32 hearing in Iraqi deaths
VILSECK, Germany — A 172nd Infantry Brigade soldier charged with premeditated murder in two incidents involving the deaths of Iraqi detainees in Baghdad waived his right to a pretrial hearing in Vilseck on Wednesday.
Sgt. Michael P. Leahy Jr., 26, is charged with premeditated murder, conspiracy to commit premeditated murder and being an accessory after the fact in the killing of an Iraqi detainee in January 2007.
In addition, Leahy, who at the time was assigned to 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, is charged with premeditated murder, conspiracy to commit premeditated murder and obstruction of justice in the deaths of four detainees in March or April of last year.
By waiving his right to an Article 32 hearing in both incidents, Leahy will face the charges in a court-martial. A date for those proceedings has not been set, according to Joint Multinational Training Command spokeswoman Denver Makle.
A charge sheet released last week stated that Leahy conspired with 1st Sgt. John E. Hatley in the January killing and that the two soldiers removed the detainee from the troop compartment of a Bradley fighting vehicle and Hatley shot the detainee with a firearm.
Leahy and Hatley then allegedly put the man in a body bag to dispose of the remains and "hinder apprehension and punishment," the sheet says.
The charge sheet also states that Leahy conspired with two other 172nd soldiers, Hatley and Sgt. 1st Class Joseph P. Mayo, in the shooting deaths of the four detainees in March or April last year.
Hatley and Mayo have been charged with premeditated murder for allegedly shooting four Iraqi detainees in the head and dumping their bodies in a canal.
Two 172nd soldiers — Spcs. Belmor Ramos, 23, and Stephan A. Ribordy, 25 — have already received prison sentences for their roles in the deaths of the four Iraqis in March or April.
Ribordy pleaded guilty to being an accessory to murder and was sentenced to eight months in prison and given a bad-conduct discharge.
Ramos pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder, but his 40-year sentence was reduced to seven months as part of a pretrial agreement. As part of the agreement, Ramos agreed to testify against other members of his unit.