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U.S. Army 1st Lt. Michael Behenna criticizes military justice system

In open letter to supporters, Edmond native 1st Lt. Michael Behenna said he remains hopeful that he'll get a new trial “where all the evidence will be heard.”
BY CHRIS CASTEEL ccasteel@opubco.com Published: August 24, 2011
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Imprisoned U.S. Army 1st Lt. Michael Behenna, in an open letter to his supporters, criticized the military justice system but said he was still hoping he would get a new trial “where all the evidence will be heard.”

Behenna's letter, released by his parents Tuesday on a website devoted to the Edmond native's case, comes about a month after the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals upheld his conviction for unpremeditated murder in a combat zone.

“I wanted to write this letter to the thousands of people all over the world who continue to support me and still have hope that justice is indeed attainable in the military justice system,” Behenna's letter states.

“It is an attempt to show my mindset here in prison to the people whom I have not had the opportunity to meet.”

Behenna, 28, is serving a 15-year sentence at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., for killing an Iraqi man in 2008 that he suspected of terrorist activities. His case has drawn national attention; some supporters traveled from other states to Arlington, Va., for parole hearings and for legal arguments in the case.

Behenna, whose appeal to the Army court argued that important evidence that would have bolstered his claim of self-defense was withheld at his trial, is expected to appeal next to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. That will be his last stop in the military justice system; if that court refuses to hear his case, he cannot appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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