A Marine reservist was found guilty Thursday of dereliction of duty and abuse of prisoners last year at a makeshift detention camp in Iraq but cleared of assaulting a 52-year-old Iraqi man who later died there.
Marine Sgt. Gary Pittman's wife cried as the military jury's verdict was read after four hours of deliberation. Pittman, wearing a khaki-and-green uniform with his service ribbons, stood without reaction.
Pittman, 40, a federal prison guard in New York in his civilian life, was acquitted of the most serious charge, of karate-kicking Nagem Hatab in the chest shortly before the Iraqi was found dead in a dusty yard at the facility known as Camp Whitehorse.
An autopsy found Hatab had six broken ribs, as well as several deep bruises, and apparently died from suffocation caused by a broken bone in his throat.
Pittman embraced his wife and his attorney before leaving the courtroom accompanied by his brother, an Army major. He did not stop to speak with reporters.
The jury was to begin sentencing deliberations on Friday. Pittman could receive nine months in a military prison and a bad-conduct discharge.
Pittman took the stand Wednesday and testified that he never assaulted a prisoner. He was one of the only witnesses to say that he saw no abuse at Camp Whitehorse.
Three other witnesses testified they saw Pittman punch, knee and kick prisoners, including a local Muslim cleric, as well as Hatab and other unnamed prisoners. Others said Pittman used force only in response to inmate aggression.