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High Fire Danger Wednesday

Iraqi Abuse Court-Martial

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Military prosecutors in Fort Hood, Texas rested their case Wednesday in the court-martial of a Fort Carson soldier charged in connection with an alleged drowning in Iraq.

The defense is now presenting its case in the trial of Sergeant First Class Tracy Perkins.

The 33-year-old is charged with involuntary manslaughter, conspiracy, aggravated assault, obstruction of justice and lying to investigators.

An Iraqi civilian testified earlier that he and his cousin were forced at gunpoint to jump into the murky Tigris River. Marwan Fadel Hassoun says U.S. soldiers laughed while the two fought to survive in the strong current.

Hassoun says he struggled to shore, then tried to save his cousin, who was swept to his death. Relatives say they found his body 12 days later.

Defense attorneys claim the man safely reached shore.

On Tuesday, a Fort Carson specialist said he and others thought the Iraqi man was going to be OK, so they left. But Reggie Martinez says one of his fellow soldiers got mad, because he thought the man had been sent into a dangerous part of the river, and didn't want him to get hurt.

That testimony came during the second day of Perkins' court-martial.

Other Fort Carson soldiers testified they meant no harm when they forced the two civilians to jump, and disputed allegations that one of the men drowned.

The soldiers said they were suspicious of the Iraqis because the men were driving around past curfew in a truck filled with plumbing supplies, equipment that could be used to make bombs.

Former Sergeant Alexis Rincon said she and the other soldiers were just showing the men "a lesson not to pass curfew."

A jury of six Army officer-jurors is hearing the case at Fort Hood. Fort Carson's Third Brigade Combat Team is part of the Fourth Infantry Division, headquartered at Fort Hood.


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