Schofield soldier chooses jury of enlisted military
The 25-year-old Schofield Barracks soldier charged with killing an unarmed Iraqi civilian last summer will face a jury of enlisted soldiers at a court-martial Feb. 19.
Spc. Christopher Shore of Winder, Ga., has decided that his court-martial, which will be held at a Wheeler Army Airfield courthouse, will be before a panel of at least five enlisted soldiers rather than a judge alone.
If convicted, Shore faces a maximum sentence of life without parole in prison.
The judge in the court-martial will be Col. Donna Wright. Shore will be represented by civilian attorney Michael Waddington, and a military lawyer, Maj. Javier Rivera, who will be brought back from Iraq for the court-martial.
Prosecuting Shore will be Capt. Laura O'Donnell, who presented the case at an Article 32 hearing three months ago.
Initially, Shore, a scout with 25th Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team, was charged with premeditated murder along with his platoon leader and fellow scout, Sgt. 1st Class Trey Corrales.
An investigating officer recommended in November that the premeditated-murder charge be dropped and that the Georgia native be charged only with aggravated assault.
However, Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, commander of the 25th Infantry Division, disagreed and referred Shore's case to a court-martial, reducing the charge to manslaughter.
Corrales, 36, whose court-martial date has not been set, is charged with premeditated murder, but Mixon decided that he will not face the death penalty if convicted.
In October, at an Article 32 hearing, the military's equivalent to a preliminary hearing, Shore testified that the Iraqi civilian had been shot and was bleeding and on the ground when Corrales ordered Shore to "finish him."
Shore said he fired his rifle but intentionally missed. The following day, Shore reported the incident.
Corrales faces two additional charges based on Shore's testimony -- asking Shore to kill the detainee and planting an AK-47 rifle next to his body.
Lt. Col. Raul Gonzalez, who presided over Shore's Article 32 hearing, said that there was "overwhelming evidence" that only Corrales shot and hit the Iraqi civilian several times with his M-4 rifle.
Army prosecutors allege the two soldiers killed the unarmed civilian on June 23. They came upon him when their platoon raided a house near Kirkuk in northern Iraq in search of men they believed were planting roadside bombs.