Schofield soldier
gets 3-year term
in shooting

A military panel finds him guilty
in the death of a bound civilian

A Schofield Barracks soldier was sentenced yesterday to three years in prison and given a dishonorable discharge for fatally shooting an unarmed Iraqi cow herder who was handcuffed.

A panel of five officers and five enlisted soldiers in Tikrit, Iraq, found Pfc. Edward Richmond, 20, guilty of voluntary manslaughter for shooting Muhamad Husain Kadir in the back of his head on Feb. 28 near Taal Al Jai, an Army statement said.

Richmond had been charged with unpremeditated murder, which carries a maximum sentence of life, but after 90 minutes of deliberation yesterday, the Army court-martial panel reduced the verdict to voluntary manslaughter.

Two hours later it returned a reduced sentence of three years, dishonorable discharge, total forfeitures of all pay and allowances, and reduction to the grade of private. The maximum sentence for voluntary manslaughter is 15 years in prison.

Patricia Simoes, Schofield Barracks spokeswoman, said no one at the 25th Infantry Division had any comment on the verdict, noting that Richmond's unit is currently assigned to the 1st Infantry Division in Kirkut, where the court-martial was held.

Richmond's mother, Darce, in Gonzales, La., also declined comment yesterday. "We don't want to talk about it all," she said by phone. Her husband was in Iraq for the court-martial.

Richmond is a member of Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, a unit of the 25th Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team, which left Wahiawa in January for a year-long deployment to Iraq.

One of the government's key witnesses Wednesday was Sgt. Jeffrey Waruch, who testified that he and Richmond had observed Kadir an hour before the shooting while a raid was being conducted in his village. However, Kadir did nothing suspicious and showed no signs of having a weapon, he said.

Waruch and Richmond were ordered via radio to detain all Iraqi males in the village. Waruch said that when they tried to pull Kadir's hands behind his back, he initially resisted. Richmond was then told to guard Kadir.

After Waruch handcuffed Kadir with a "zip tie," he led the cow herder away.

The Army statement said Kadir stumbled after taking one or two steps, and Richmond shot him in the back of the head when he was about six feet away.

The Army said another government witness, who was not identified, testified that he heard Richmond ask if he could shoot the cow herder before the radio message came to detain all males.

A third witness, also unnamed by the Army, testified that he had previously heard Richmond talking about wanting to shoot an Iraqi.

Richmond testified that he did not realize that the Iraqi he shot was handcuffed and that he feared the Iraqi would kill Waruch.

However, the Army statement said, Richmond admitted that he never saw the Iraqi with any weapon. Richmond also admitted that he had requested to shoot the cow herder less than an hour before the shooting, the Army statement said.

After the defense rested, Waruch was asked to re-enact the shooting.

Richmond will be transported to Camp Arifjan in Kuwait, and from there he will be moved to a confinement facility to carry out his sentence. He will be credited with 47 days for time served, even though he was not held in confinement before the court-martial began on Tuesday.

In pretrial motions earlier this week, Richmond's attorney alleged that the defendant was treated unfairly and was effectively punished prior to his court-martial because he was separated from his friends, not permitted to carry a weapon and was ridiculed by the company's first sergeant and executive officer.

The judge, Lt. Col. Robin Hall, awarded 47 days of confinement credit because she said the restriction was tantamount to confinement because Richmond had a constant escort before trial.

25th Infantry Division



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