Hearing on Iraq detainee death case postponed
August 19, 2008
The Article 32 hearing for one of two U.S. soldiers charged with killing a detainee near Beiji, Iraq, has been postponed until Sept. 5, military officials said.
Staff Sgt. Hal M. Warner was originally to face the hearing last week. Warner and 1st Lt. Michael C. Behenna, both members of Company D, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, based in Fort Campbell, Ky., face charges of premeditated murder, accessory after the fact, assault, making a false official statement and obstruction of justice.
Few details have been released in the case, though the military said that "the charges followed a criminal investigation into the death of Ali Mansur Mohamed, a detainee initially believed to have been released by Coalition Forces on or about May 16, 2008."
The military has said that Behenna was accused of using a pistol to shoot Mohamed at or near Forward Operating Base Summerall.
Warner’s hearing will be held at the large U.S. base near the city of Tikrit. A hearing date has not yet been set for Behenna, officials said. The pair were originally charged in July.
In the weeks since the charges were announced, family members have publicly come to the defense of the two soldiers.
Behenna, whose parents are a federal prosecutor in Oklahoma City and a retired Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agent, have hired a civilian law firm to lead his defense. That team successfully defended a Marine lance corporal who was accused of killing an Iraqi civilian during a November 2005 incident in Haditha. Charges against the Marine were eventually dropped.
Less is known about Warner, 34, who is also from Oklahoma.