Death penalty ruled out in Iraq slaying case
A 35-year-old Schofield Barracks soldier will not face the death penalty if convicted of killing an unarmed Iraqi civilian last summer.
Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, commanding general of the 25th Infantry Division, announced yesterday that Sgt. 1st Class Trey Corrales will face a court-martial on the charge of premeditated murder.
However, Mixon, in one of his last official duties at the division, decided that Corrales' case will not be a capital crime. The maximum penalty Corrales now faces, if convicted, will be a life sentence in prison without the possibility of parole.
Mixon will assume command of U.S. Army Pacific in February.
Corrales also will be facing two additional charges: ordering another soldier, Spc. Christopher Shore, to shoot the wounded Iraqi civilian; and impeding the criminal investigation by allegedly planting an AK-47 rifle near the victim after he was shot.
Last month, Mixon decided that Shore, who was initially charged with premeditated murder, also will be court-martialed, but reduced Shore's charges to manslaughter. That charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison with the possibility of parole.
No date was set for the two separate courts-martial, which will be held at Schofield Barracks.
Both Shore and Corrales were scouts with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, which returned to Schofield Barracks in October after 15 months in Iraq.
Shore, 25, maintains that platoon leader Corrales shot the civilian, suspected to be an insurgent bomb maker, during an early-morning raid near Kirkuk and ordered Shore to finish him off. Shore said he fired his weapon to placate Corrales but purposely missed.
After Shore's Article 32 hearing in October, Lt. Col. Raul Gonzalez, who presided over the hearing, said that Shore should be court-martialed for aggravated assault, not murder.
Gonzalez said there was "overwhelming evidence" showing Corrales shot at the man multiple times with the intention of killing him.
During Shore's pretrial hearing, Corrales was portrayed as an abusive, volatile platoon sergeant who physically threatened his soldiers.