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Tuesday, May 25, 2004



Soldier wins delay
in case of Iraq death


Defense attorneys for the 25th Infantry Division soldier accused of killing a civilian in Iraq three months ago have been granted a delay to conduct investigations.

The delay was granted by Maj. Gen. John Batiste, commander of the 1st Infantry Division, who has to decide whether Pfc. Edward Richmond, 20, will face a court-martial on a murder charge.

Richmond is a member of 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, and was part of nearly 4,000 in the 2nd Brigade Combat Team that deployed to Iraq in late January.

"The defense asked for and received a delay from the government in order to conduct some additional investigation and preparation for Pfc. Richmond's defense," said Maj. Neal O'Brien, an Army spokesman in Tikrit, yesterday.

Richmond was charged with unpremeditated murder April 5 for shooting an Iraqi citizen Feb. 28. Members of his platoon were attempting to arrest civilians during a roundup of suspected terrorists in Al-Hawijah, a city southwest of Kirkuk that has been a center of insurgency since the U.S. invasion last spring.

An Army Article 32 hearing -- similar to a grand jury proceeding in civilian criminal court -- has already been completed by an investigative officer, but its findings have not been disclosed.

Batiste will decide whether Richmond will be the first soldier to be court-martialed for murdering a civilian in the Iraqi war.

The 2nd Brigade Combat Team is based in the city of Kirkuk under 1st Infantry Division's command.

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