Soldier waives pretrial hearing
The attorney for the 34-year-old Schofield Barracks soldier accused of shooting an unarmed Iraqi civilian during a midnight raid in Iraq has decided to forgo a pretrial hearing.
Frank Spinner, attorney for Sgt. 1st Class Trey Corrales, told the Star-Bulletin that he has "a good idea what the government has" after sitting through nearly nine hours of testimony at Thursday's Article 32 hearing for Spc. Christopher Shore.
Shore, 25, and Corrales have been charged with the premeditated murder of an Iraqi civilian during a June 23 raid in Kirkuk. The charges carry a maximum penalty of death and a minimum of life in prison with the possibility of parole.
Thursday's session, the military equivalent of a preliminary hearing in civilian criminal cases, was held to help Lt. Col. Raul Gonzalez, the investigating officer, determine whether Shore should be court-martialed.
Corrales' Article 32 hearing was supposed to begin Monday before another investigating officer, Lt. Col. Mark Germann, in the same Wheeler Army Airfield courtroom.
However, Spinner decided to waive the pretrial investigation, leaving it up to Germann to base his decision on statements and other evidence gathered by Army criminal investigators.
The final determination whether a court-martial will be held for Corrales and Shore rests with Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, commander of the 25th Infantry Division.
Spinner told the Star-Bulletin that he found no need to go through the pretrial hearing since in part it would be a replay of Thursday's session with the same witnesses called to testify.
Eleven witnesses were questioned.
Spinner said the pretrial session helped him "collect all the facts and get his arms around the case."
"It was a good productive week. I have a good idea what the government has."
"He (Corrales) is not guilty. He will maintain his innocence" if the case goes to a court-martial, added Spinner.
Army prosecutors maintain that Corrales shot the man in the back yard of a house that his platoon had finished searching, looking for insurgents believed to be making bombs, and he tried to plant an AK-47 rifle near the body. There were two wounds to the victim's face, two to his arms and one to his stomach.
Prosecutor Capt. Duane Kees maintained that Shore fired the two head shots after being told by Corrales to finish off the Iraqi man.
"I didn't know what to do. I just saw him shoot somebody," Shore testified, adding he was terrified of what Corrales might do to him if he refused to follow his order. Shore maintains that he shot two rounds into the ground next to the body.
Both soldiers are members of the 25th Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team, which returned to Schofield Barracks this month after spending nearly 15 months in Iraq.
Michael Waddington, Shore's attorney, portrayed Corrales as an unpredictable soldier with a bipolar personality who ran the platoon using fear and intimidation.