An Army contractor is facing up to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the shooting death of a handcuffed Taliban member.
Forty-six-year-old Don M. Ayala, of New Orleans, struck a plea bargain Tuesday in federal court in Alexandria that avoids more serious murder charges, which could have resulted in life in prison.
Ayala was on patrol in Afghanistan in November when an Afghan man lit a pitcher of fuel and tossed it on Ayala's colleague, 36-year-old Paula Loyd.
Ayala chased the attacker and helped arrest and handcuff him. When Ayala learned minutes later how badly Loyd had been burned, Ayala shot her attacker in the head.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on Loyd, who died from her injuries two months later.