A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Second US Army sergeant convicted of killing Iraqi detainees

[JURIST] A US Army [official website] sergeant was convicted Monday and sentenced to 35 years in prison for killing four unarmed Iraqi prisoners [NYT report] in 2007. Sgt. First Class Joseph Mayo, formerly of the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry [official website] and two other soldiers were charged in September [JURIST report] with shooting the four bound and blindfolded prisoners and disposing of their bodies in a canal. Mayo pleaded guilty at his court-martial proceeding Monday, saying he shot the prisoners because he feared they would be released due to lack of evidence against them. The killings followed a series of attacks against US troops and may have been retribution for the deaths of two US soldiers. Sgt. John Hatley, also charged in the killings, faces court martial proceedings [JURIST report] beginning April 13. According to Mayo's lawyer, Mayo has agreed to testify against Hatley [AP report].

The third man charged, Sgt. Michael Leahy Jr., was convicted [JURIST report] in February and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. Staff Sgt. Jess Cunningham, originally an alleged co-conspirator against whom charges were dropped, testified against Leahy [JURIST report] at his trial. Fellow unit members Spc. Belmor Ramon and Spc. Steven Ribordy pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy and accessory to murder [JURIST reports], respectively, in connection with the incident.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.