Soldier Court Martial

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

A Fort Carson soldier being court martialed on accusations of terrorizing an Iraqi town with guns, his own body language, and a baseball bat took the stand Tuesday in his own defense.

Captain Shawn L. Martin says he never threatened to shoot one of his men who refused to fire his weapon at an Iraqi detainee. Martin also testified he never intended and never committed a violent offense against anyone.

Martin faces ten separate charges, including assault, obstruction of justice and conduct unbecoming an officer.

Earlier Tuesday, the prosecution rested its case after Army Sergeant David Selby testified that Martin once put a gun to the head of another sergeant and ordered him to fire over the head of an Iraqi detainee. The sergeant testified on Monday he intially refused Martin's order but complied after Martin's threat.

Defense attorney John Galligan says Martin was a good soldier doing what he had to do to protect his troops.

The attacks allegedly occurred between May and July 2003 at Ar Rutbah, Iraq -- where Martin was the senior officer.

Army officials say Martin faces 44 years in prison if convicted. Earlier, they had said he faced a maximum of 66 years behind bars.

The reason for the discrepancy isn't clear.

Martin is a former member of the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment based at Fort Carson.

The unit's 52-hundred soldiers have already deployed or will soon deploy to Iraq for a tour of duty lasting at least a year.


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