"Shot While Attempting To Flee"
A 101st Airborne Division soldier was sentenced Thursday to 18 years in prison for murdering a detainee and taking part in the killings of two others in Iraq last year.The "shot while trying to escape" lie is particularly chilling in light of the madmen who made it their trademark during the 1930's and 1940's. Anyone want to argue that our already tenuous national reputation can survive many more years of this?
Pfc. Corey R. Clagett, 22, was one of four soldiers from the division's 3rd Brigade "Rakkasans" who were accused in the detainees' deaths during a May 9 raid on the Muthana chemical complex in Samarra, about 60 miles north of Baghdad.
The soldiers first told investigators they shot the detainees because they were attempting to flee - a story they now say they made up - and that commanders had given them orders to kill all military-age males on the mission.
Two of those soldiers, Spc. William B. Hunsaker and Spc. Juston R. Graber, have changed their stories and pleaded guilty. The squad leader, Staff Sgt. Raymond Girouard, is awaiting his court-martial.
"(Sgt. Girouard) said we were going to cut the zip ties loose and kill the detainees," Clagett told the military judge, Col. Theodore Dixon, on Thursday. "I knew it was an unlawful order. I just went along with it."
Prosecutors said Clagett fatally shot one detainee and seriously wounded another. Official say Graber then killed the wounded detainee, and Hunsaker killed the third.
The judge asked Clagett what his intention was when he shot at the detainees.
"To kill them, your honor," Clagett said.