Charges Against Pilot
In Bombing Dismissed
NEW ORLEANS -- The Air Force has decided not to court-martial a U.S. fighter pilot who mistakenly dropped a 500-pound, laser-guided bomb that killed four Canadians in Afghanistan in 2002.
Maj. Harry Schmidt, 37, will face nonjudicial punishment, and four dereliction-of-duty charges against him will be dismissed in court, the Air Force said Thursday. He could face punishment including 30 days' confinement or loss of one month's pay, about $5,600, Air Force spokeswoman Col. Alvina Mitchell said.
Schmidt originally was charged with manslaughter and aggravated assault and faced up to 64 years in prison. Military officials recommended against a court-martial on those charges last June, saying Schmidt could face nonjudicial punishment instead.
Schmidt turned down the offer, saying he wanted to clear his name in a court-martial instead. He was ordered to be tried on the lesser charge of dereliction of duty.
But the agreement announced Thursday meant the dereliction charges will be pursued in a nonjudicial forum, beginning July 1.
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-- From News Services