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Second US soldier to face court martial for Iraq detainee deaths

[JURIST] The US Army [official website] on Wednesday announced that Sgt. John Hatley will be court-martialed for his alleged role in the killings of four Iraqi citizens [NYT report] in April 2007. Hatley, along with soldiers Sgt. Michael Leahy, Jr. and Sgt. 1st Class John Mayo, was charged [JURIST report] in September with premeditated murder, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice. Hatley is also charged with conspiracy for a separate incident that occurred in January 2007, although the details surrounding that incident have yet to be released. The date for the court-martial hearing has not been announced.

This announcement is the latest in a series of court-martial hearings for those soldiers connected with the April 2007 incident. A court-martial for Leahy was announced [JURIST report] in November, but there has been no announcement concerning Mayo's court-martial. Spc. Belmor Ramos pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges [JURIST report] and Spc. Steven Ribordy pleaded guilty to accessory to murder charges [JURIST report]. Both men agreed to testify against Leahy, Mayo ,and Hatley. All of the soldiers were members of the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry [unit website], and the crime is believed to be a retributive act for casualties suffered by the unit.

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