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Military charges two Oklahoma soldiers with murder in connection with death of Iraqi detainee

By Michael Kimball Modified: August 3, 2008 at 3:16 pm •  Published: August 3, 2008
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TIKRIT, Iraq — Coalition military forces have charged two Oklahoma soldiers with premeditated murder in connection with the shooting death of an Iraqi detainee north of Baghdad, according to a military news release.

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Michael C. Behenna, 25, of Edmond is charged with pre-meditated murder, assault, making a false official statement and obstruction of justice, according to the release. Staff Sgt. Hal M. Warner, 34, of Braggs faces the same charges, but as an accessory after the fact for premeditated murder. The military added that both men are innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Warner’s brother, reached by The Oklahoman at a phone number listed for the soldier in Braggs, declined to comment today. A voicemail left at a phone number listed for Behenna was not immediately returned.

The soldiers are both assigned to D Company, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry at Forward Operating Base Summerall, near the Iraqi city of Bayji, the military said. The unit is part of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), based at Fort Campbell near Oak Grove, Ky.

The charges stem from the shooting death of Ali Mansur Mohamed, an Iraqi detainee initially believed to be released May 16 from military custody, the military said. Charges were filed against Warner on July 13 and against Behenna on Thursday.

The military has not said when Mohamed was killed, but Behenna and Warner are accused of killing the detainee “by means of shooting him with a pistol,” a military spokeswoman told The Associated Press.

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