Jury takes over in soldier’s court-martial
A military jury of four officers and five enlisted soldiers is expected to spend most of today deliberating about the case of a 26-year-old Schofield Barracks soldier accused of killing an unarmed Iraqi civilian last June near Kirkuk.
During a daylong court-martial at Wheeler Army Air Field yesterday, defense attorney Michael Waddington argued that his client, Spc. Christopher Shore, 26, was ordered by his platoon leader, Sgt. 1st Class Trey Corrales, to shoot an Iraqi insurgent suspected of making bombs used to attack soldiers of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team. Waddington acknowledged that Shore, of Winder, Ga., did fire two shots but said he deliberately missed.
The suspected Iraqi insurgent was shot five times in the head, left and right arms, and back. Lt. Cmdr. Mark Shelly, the medical examiner who did the autopsy on July 1, testified that the wound on the victim's left cheek was probably fatal. The victim was never identified since his body was never claimed, Army officials said yesterday.
Corrales is charged with premeditated murder, telling Shore to shoot an unarmed detainee and then impeding an investigation by planting an AK-47 rifle near the victim. He will be tried on April 22. Shore is charged with manslaughter, although an investigating officer recommended the lesser charge of aggravated assault.
Yesterday at Shore's court-martial, Spc. Franklin Hambrick testified that Corrales, before the soldiers attacked a house where insurgents were believed to have taken refuge, ordered his platoon "to shoot all fighting-age males."
Hambrick said Corrales ordered his platoon to test the hands of everyone in the house for explosives and if the results were positive, they should be killed.
Hambrick said Corrales took a detainee, who had tested positive, outside the house and told him to run. "The guy didn't realize what was going on and raised his hands," Hambrick said.
The order was repeated several times, Hambrick added . Each time Corrales raised his M-4 carbine until it was eye level, and at that point, Hambrick said, he turned to leave because he knew what was going to happen.
"As soon as I turned around, I heard shots," he testified.
Sitting in the Wheeler Army Air Field courtroom behind Shore was his wife, Katherin , and his father, Ray Shore, and a few members of his patrol.
Army criminal investigator David McMullen, who interviewed Shore a couple of hours after the shooting, said Shore acknowledged firing two shots, but didn't know if he hit the Iraqi.
However, Sgt. 1st Class Dennis Bulham testified that Shore, at a later meeting with Lt. Col. Michael Browder, their battalion commander, said he fired at the unarmed civilian.
Both Corrales and Shore are assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, and were in Iraq for 15 months.