Probe finds proof lacking that Schofield soldier murdered Iraqi
A U.S. military investigator yesterday recommended against trying a Hawaii-based soldier for the premeditated murder of an unarmed Iraqi, saying there wasn't enough evidence to show he shot and killed the man.
Spc. Christopher Shore and his platoon leader, Sgt. 1st Class Trey Corrales, have both been charged with murdering the Iraqi, who has not been identified by name in the military judicial proceedings.
Lt. Col. Raul Gonzalez, the officer who presided over a hearing last month to determine whether Shore should be tried, said that while Shore should not be tried for murder, he should be court-martialed for aggravated assault.
Gonzalez said there was "overwhelming evidence" showing Corrales shot at the man multiple times with the intention of killing him. Corrales has waived his right to a hearing prior to a decision whether he should be court-martialed for the Iraqi's murder.
"Reasonable grounds do not exist to believe that the accused committed premeditated murder," Gonzalez wrote of Shore, according to a copy of the report obtained by the Associated Press.
The commander of the 25th Infantry Division, Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, is expected to consult the report while deciding whether Shore should be court-martialed.
The soldiers are members of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team in the 25th Infantry Division, which recently returned to Hawaii from a 15-month deployment to Iraq.
Shore's lawyer, Michael Waddington, said Gonzalez's recommendation "is a big win" for his client if it is followed.
Waddington portrayed Corrales, during arguments at Shore's hearing, as an abusive, volatile platoon sergeant that had physically threatened his soldiers.
Shore, 25, of Winder, Ga., testified that he shot at the Iraqi man after Corrales fired several shots at him and then ordered him to "finish" the Iraqi.
But Shore said he intentionally missed and only fired because he was afraid of openly disobeying an order Corrales had issued.
The platoon detained the Iraqi man during a raid on a house near Kirkuk where the soldiers believed insurgents who had been planting roadside bombs were hiding.
Shore and other soldiers in the platoon testified the shooting happened after the detainee had surrendered.
Corrales, 35, was asked to testify at Shore's hearing, but he invoked his right against self-incrimination.
Because the San Antonio native waived his right to a preliminary hearing of his own, Mixon will decide whether Corrales should be court-martialed based on evidence Army investigators have collected in the case.
Gonzalez's report said Corrales' "abusive and unlawful leadership techniques" had created an unhealthy environment for the platoon.