Trial starts for soldier in death of Iraqi
Schofield specialist Christopher Shore could get a life term if he is convicted
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Army prosecutors will try to convince a jury of Schofield Barracks soldiers today that a 26-year-old Army scout killed an unarmed Iraqi civilian in June following a raid near the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk.
However, attorneys for Spc. Christopher Shore say the Georgia native refused to obey an order by his platoon sergeant and instead fired his M-4 carbine into the ground, deliberately missing the civilian.
Shore's court-martial on a charge of manslaughter is being held at Wheeler Army Air Field and is expected to last several days.
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A Schofield Barracks soldier charged with killing an unarmed Iraq civilian faces a court-martial today and the possibility of life imprisonment with the possibility of parole.
Spc. Christopher Shore, 26, will try to convince a jury of soldiers that he deliberately missed hitting the Iraqi after he was ordered to shoot the man by his patrol leader, Sgt. 1st Class Trey Corrales, following a raid on June 23 at Al-Saheed near Kirkuk.
Corrales was charged with murder, wrongfully ordering Shore to shoot the unarmed Iraqi and hindering the Army investigation by planting an AK-47 next to the body. The civilian was shot multiple times in the head and chest. If convicted, Corrales, of San Antonio, faces the maximum punishment of life without parole.
Corrales' court-martial will be held April 22 in the same Wheeler Army Air Field courtroom.
Shore, 26, was initially charged with murder, but Lt. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, commander of the 25th Division, reduced the charge to manslaughter.
The two are not the first 25th Division soldiers to be charged with killing Iraqi civilians. In August 2004, Pfc. Edward Richmond Jr. -- assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry -- was charged along with other soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team with killing an Iraqi civilian in their custody.
Richmond, of Gonzales, La., was the only 25th Infantry Division soldier convicted in the shooting. He said he was following the orders of his unit commander, Sgt. Jeffrey Waruch. Richmond was sentenced to three years in prison.
Army Col. Donna Wright will preside over the two courts-martial. Army Capts. Laura O'Donnell and J.P. Leary will prosecute both cases.
Shore, of Winder, Ga., will be represented by civilian attorney Michael Waddington and a military lawyer, Maj. Javier Rivera.
Shore and Corrales spent 15 months in Iraq as members of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry, 3rd Brigade Combat Team. They returned to Schofield in November.
During his pretrial hearing in October, Waddington used testimony of a forensic pathologist to bolster Shore's defense that he never fired at the unarmed civilian.
Shore testified then that his platoon had been called out late at night on June 22 to search Iraqi homes where insurgents were believed to be hiding. After detaining several men, whose hands had tested positive for explosives, Shore said he left the house. Outside in a courtyard, he saw one of the Iraqis lying on the ground wounded, he said.
Shore said he was ordered by Corrales to "finish him."
Although he fired his M-4 carbine several times, Shore contends, he never hit the wounded civilian, who died while in custody several days later. Shore testified that he did not want to disobey Corrales' order because he was afraid of what Corrales might do. Shore said Corrales had been abusive toward his soldiers in the past.
Waddington said Shore later reported the incident to 25th Division leaders.