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U.S. Soldier Convicted In Iraqi Shooting Death

Charge Is Reduced to Manslaughter

By Melissa Eddy
Associated Press
Friday, April 1, 2005; Page A21

WIESBADEN, Germany, March 31 -- A military court Thursday convicted a U.S. Army tank company commander of a lesser criminal charge in connection with the shooting death of a wounded Iraqi man last year.

Capt. Rogelio Maynulet was found guilty of assault with intent to commit voluntary manslaughter, which carries a maximum of 10 years in prison. Prosecutors had sought conviction on a more serious charge of assault with intent to commit murder, which has a 20-year maximum.

Capt. Rogelio Maynulet faces a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Maynulet, 30, of Chicago, stood at attention as Lt. Col. Laurence Mixon, head of the six-member panel, read the verdict at the court-martial. At a sentencing hearing later, Maynulet asked the court for leniency, occasionally pausing and looking down to keep his composure.

"I hope you can take into consideration my service, my attitude and my love for the Army before you make a decision," Maynulet said. "I respect your decision. I wouldn't want to be in your position. I think you did what you have to do."

Maynulet's father, Rogelio Maynulet, and his wife, Brooke Maynulet, also took the stand as character witnesses. Several officers who have worked with Maynulet in Germany since he left his command in Iraq praised his work.

On May 21 last year, Maynulet's 1st Armored Division tank company chased and fired on a car that carried men loyal to Moqtada Sadr, the radical Shiite Muslim cleric. Two men in the car, a passenger and driver, were wounded.

Maynulet approached the car and maintained in testimony that he shot and killed the severely wounded man to "put him out of his misery." His attorneys have argued that Maynulet's actions were in line with the Geneva Conventions on the conduct of war.

The killing was taped by a U.S. drone surveillance aircraft.

In closing arguments Thursday, Maj. John Rothwell, the prosecutor, said Maynulet "played God" when he shot the man. He argued that Maynulet, who was trained in first aid, should not have relied on a medic who said the man was beyond saving and told him "there's nothing I can do."

"This combat-trained lifesaver prescribed two bullets," Rothwell said. "He didn't call his superiors for guidance, didn't consult with his medic."

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