ShareThis Page
Trump pardons former U.S. soldier who killed Iraqi prisoner | TribLIVE.com
U.S./World

Trump pardons former U.S. soldier who killed Iraqi prisoner

Associated Press
1124317_web1_1124317-d4c594cd466b494e9f59f6184bd398d1
AP
In this Sunday, Sept. 21, 2008, file photo, 1st Lt. Michael C. Behenna, left, and his defense attorney Capt. Tom Clark, right, walk in Camp Speicher, a large U.S. base near Tikrit, north of Baghdad, Iraq. The White House announced Monday, May 6, 2019, that President Donald Trump pardoned Behenna, a former U.S. soldier convicted in 2009 of killing an Iraqi prisoner.
1124317_web1_1124317-74c9abd36f274781a3dc58379867de55
AP
In this March 14, 2014, file photo, Michael Behenna, center, is embraced by his brother Brett and girlfriend Shannon Wahl following his release from prison in Leavenworth, Kan. The White House announced Monday, May 6, 2019, that President Donald Trump pardoned Behenna, a former U.S. soldier convicted in 2009 of killing an Iraqi prisoner.
1124317_web1_1124317-95e00c92638f4390992a84124475bff5
AP
In this July 17, 2014, file photo, Michael Behenna stands on land that he helps work in Medford, Okla. The White House announced Monday, May 6, 2019, that President Donald Trump pardoned Behenna, a former U.S. soldier convicted in 2009 of killing an Iraqi prisoner.

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has pardoned a former U.S. soldier convicted in 2009 of killing an Iraqi prisoner, the White House announced Monday.

Trump signed an executive grant of clemency, a full pardon, for former Army 1st Lt. Michael Behenna, of Oklahoma, press secretary Sarah Sanders said.

Behenna was convicted of unpremeditated murder in a combat zone after killing a suspected al-Qaida terrorist in Iraq. He was paroled in 2014 and had been scheduled to remain on parole until 2024.

A military court had sentenced Behenna to 25 years in prison. However, the Army’s highest appellate court noted concern about how the trial court had handled Behenna’s claim of self-defense, Sanders said. The Army Clemency and Parole Board also reduced his sentence to 15 years and paroled him as soon as he was eligible.

Behenna’s case attracted broad support from the military, Oklahoma elected officials and the public, Sanders said. She added that Behenna was a model prisoner while serving his sentence, and “in light of these facts, Mr. Behenna is entirely deserving” of the pardon.

Oklahoma’s two Republican senators, James Lankford and Jim Inhofe, hailed the pardon, thanking Trump for giving Behenna “a clean slate.”

Behenna acknowledged during his trial that instead of taking the prisoner home as he was ordered, he took the man to a railroad culvert, stripped him, and then questioned him at gunpoint about a roadside bombing that had killed two members of Behenna’s platoon.

Behenna, a native of the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond, said the man moved toward him and he shot him because Behenna thought he would try to take his gun.

Oklahoma’s attorney general first requested a pardon for Behenna in February 2018 and renewed his request last month. Attorney General Mike Hunter said he believed Behenna’s conviction was unjustified because of erroneous jury instructions and the failure of prosecutors to turn over evidence supporting a self-defense claim.

Categories: News | World
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.