Hearing rescheduled for soldier accused in deaths of two officers in Iraq
September 30, 2005
An Article 32 hearing for a former 42nd Infantry Division soldier accused of killing two of his officers in Iraq has been rescheduled to begin Oct. 31, officials said Thursday.
Staff Sgt. Alberto B. Martinez, formerly assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 42nd ID, faces two counts of premeditated murder in the June 7 killings of Capt. Phillip T. Esposito and 1st Lt. Louis E. Allen.
Their deaths initially were reported as an indirect-fire attack on Forward Operating Base Danger, headquarters of the New York National Guard division. A few days later, the military said it had opened a criminal investigation. Martinez was arrested shortly after and has been held in pretrial confinement at a military prison in Kuwait.
An Article 32 hearing is similar to a grand jury proceeding and determines what, if any, charges a soldier would face at a court-martial.
Earlier this week, military officials said they would pay for the two officers’ widows to attend the hearing in Kuwait.
“I am grateful and relieved. I felt from the very beginning that we had a right to be there. Everyone came through for us,” Siobhan Esposito said, according to The Associated Press.
The trial also will be sent via live audio feed between Kuwait and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., so other family members of both the victim and the accused can listen, officials said.
The hearing was originally scheduled to take place in Tikrit; the soldiers’ widows had asked to be transported to that more-dangerous locale to attend the proceedings.
Martinez, 37, was a supply specialist with the division and was administratively transferred to another unit while awaiting trial.