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Schofield soldier gets 3 years for killing Iraqi citizen

Gregg Kakesako
gkakesako@starbulletin.com

08/05/04 "Honolulu Star-Bulletin" -- A Schofield Barracks soldiers was sentenced today to three years in prison and given a dishonorable discharge for shooting to death an unarmed Iraqi cowherder who was handcuffed.
A panel of five officers and five enlisted soldiers in Tikrit, Iraq, found Pfc. Edward Richmond, 20, guilty of voluntary manslaughter for shooting Muhamad Husain Kadir in the back of his head on Feb. 28 near Taal Al Jai, the Army said in a statement.

Richmond had been charged with unpremeditated murder, which carries a maximum sentence of life, but after 90 minutes of deliberation today the Army court martial panel reduced the verdict to voluntary manslaughter. Two hours later it returned a sentence of three years, dishonorable discharge, total forfeitures of all pay and allowances and reduction to the grade of private.

Richmond is a member of Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, a unit of the 25th Infantry Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team which left Wahiawa in January for a year-long deployment to Iraq. 

One of the government’s key witnesses yesterday was Sgt. Jeffrey Waruch who testified that he and Richmond had observed Kadir an hour before the shooting while a raid was being conducted in his village.

However, Kadir did nothing suspicious and showed no signs of having a weapon.

Waruch and Richmond were ordered via radio to detain all Iraqi males in the village.

Waruch said that when they tried pull Kadir’s hands behind his back he initially resisted.

After Waruch flex cuffed Kadir with a “zip tie” he led the cowherder away.

The Army statement said that Kadir stumbled after taking one or two steps and Richmond shot him in the back of the head when he was about 6 feet away.

The Army said another government witness, who was not identified, testified that he heard Richmond ask if he could shoot the cowherder well before the radio message came to detain all males.

A third witness, also unnamed by the Army, testified that he had previously heard Richmond talking about wanting to shoot an Iraqi.

In his defense Richmond testified that he did not realize that the Iraqi he shot had his hands flex cuffed behind his back and that he feared the Iraqi would kill Waruch. 

However, the Army statement said, Richmond admitted that he never saw the Iraqi with any weapon, Richmond also admitted that he had requested to shoot the cowherder less than an hour before the shooting. 

After the defense rested, Waruch was asked to re-enact the shooting. 

Richmond will be transported to Camp Arifjan in Kuwait and from there he will be moved to a confinement facility to carry out his sentence. He will be credited with the 47 days he was held in confinement before the court martial began on Tuesday. 

© 2004 Honolulu Star-Bulletin -- http://starbulletin.com

  

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