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Schofield soldier sentenced after killing private


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POSTED: Sunday, July 12, 2009

A 33-year-old Schofield Barracks soldier was sentenced to three years in prison yesterday in Iraq for accidentally shooting a fellow soldier in the head.

At his court martial in Kirkut, Sgt. Miguel A. Vegaquinones pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Pfc. Sean McCune, 20, in Samarra on Jan 11.

In charging Vegaquinones with manslaughter, the Army said the soldier negligently discharged one round from his weapon which hit McCune in the head.

He was also originally charged with making a false statement to a military criminal investigator when he said that he “;did not see Private McCune in the sight picture of my weapon.”;

The two soldiers were assigned to the 25th Infantry Division's 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, and had just completed guard duty at Patrol Base Kaufman in Samarra.

Vegaquinones was sentenced to three years confinement, reduction in rank to private and a dishonorable discharge.

Under the terms of a pre-trial agreement, Vegaquinones' sentence was limited to 30 months confinement. The charge of making a false official statement was dismissed as part of the pre-trial agreement.

Vegaquinones was temporarily attached to the brigade's Headquarters and Headquarters Company pending the outcome of the court martial.

He is being returned to the mainland to serve his sentence.

Last month Vegaquinones waived his right to an Article 32 hearing, the military version of a civilian grand jury, and entered into plea negotiations.

Yesterday's court martial was held at Contingency Operating Base Speicher.