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Hawaii-based soldiers face hearings on murder charges involving Iraqi killing

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Posted: October 17, 2007 1:54 p.m.
Updated: November 1, 2007 5:01 a.m.
    HONOLULU — The first of two Hawaii-based soldiers accused of murder in the killing of a civilian in northern Iraq is set for a hearing Thursday that could determine whether he will face court martial.
    The Army alleges that Sgt. 1st Class Trey A. Corrales shot the civilian himself, then ordered Spc. Christopher P. Shore to shoot the man again.
    Corrales, of San Antonio, and Shore, of Winder, Ga., are charged with premeditated murder in the June 23 shooting of the unidentified man near Kirkuk. The civilian died a few days later.
    Both men deny the charges. Shore has said that while he was ordered to shoot the man he intentionally missed.
    Shore was scheduled to appear Thursday for an Article 32 hearing, similar to a civilian grand jury hearing. After a separate hearing for Corrales, their commanding general, Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon of the 25th Infantry Division, will decide whether they should be court-martialed.
    The case is the latest of several in which U.S. troops have been accused of murdering Iraqi civilians, but prosecutors have had trouble obtaining convictions in some cases.
    The Army’s charges allege the soldiers shot the victim several times when their platoon entered a house near Kirkuk to search for insurgents.
    Shore wrote the Atlanta Journal-Constitution an e-mail in August saying Corrales ordered him and his fellow soldiers to ‘‘kill all the males’’ in the house, where insurgents had allegedly trapped some soldiers.
    Shore said he ran toward the sound of shots and found Corrales standing over an injured man. Shore said Corrales ordered him to ‘‘finish him.’’ Shore said he fired his gun but purposely missed the man.
    Shore’s attorney, Michael Waddington, has said his client was one of four soldiers who turned in Corrales.
    ‘‘It’s kind of a circumstantial case, because there were no witnesses to what happened,’’ Waddington said in August. ‘‘Spc. Shore is the only one who implicates himself, the only guy who said ’I popped off two rounds but I didn’t hit the guy.’’’
    Some soldiers in the same platoon who were expected to testify were killed when their helicopter went down in northern Iraq on Aug. 22. The crash killed 14 soldiers. It is not clear how their deaths will affect the case.
    Corrales’ attorney, Frank Spinner, did not respond to e-mail and telephone messages seeking comment.
    The Army relieved the battalion’s commander, Lt. Col. Michael Browder, of his command after the incident, citing a lack of confidence in his leadership. Browder, however, is not a suspect and has not been charged.
    ———
    On the Net:
    Corrales supporters: http://sfccorrales.freewebsites.com/

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