World Jordanian soldier convicted in killing of 3 American troops

13:16  17 july  2017
13:16  17 july  2017 Source:   Associated Press

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AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — A military court in Jordan has convicted a Jordanian soldier in the shooting deaths of three U.S. military trainers at the gate of an air base. Relatives of the slain troops were in court on Monday.

A military court convenes in the case of a Jordanian soldier accused of shooting to death three U.S. military trainers at the gate of an air base, in Amman, Jordan, Monday. July 17, 2017. The defendant had pleaded © The Associated Press A military court convenes in the case of a Jordanian soldier accused of shooting to death three U.S. military trainers at the gate of an air base, in Amman, Jordan, Monday. July 17, 2017. The defendant had pleaded "not guilty," saying he opened fire because he feared the base was coming under attack. He was sentenced Monday to life in prison with hard labor. (AP Photo/Omar Akour)

AMMAN, Jordan — A military court convicted a Jordanian soldier on Monday in the shooting deaths of three U.S. military trainers at a Jordanian air base and sentenced him to life in prison with hard labor.

The defendant had pleaded "not guilty," saying he opened fire because he feared the base was coming under attack.

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A military court in Jordan has convicted a Jordanian soldier in the shooting deaths of three U.S. military trainers at the gate of an air base. Relatives of the slain troops were in court on Monday.

AMMAN, Jordan — A military court in Jordan has convicted a Jordanian soldier in the shooting deaths of three U.S. military trainers at the gate of an air base. The defendant was sentenced Monday to life in prison with hard labour.

As he was led out of the courtroom, 1st Sgt. Marik al-Tuwayha said: "I have all the respect for the king, but I was doing my job."

The parents of one of the slain U.S. soldiers and the father and sister of another sat quietly as the judge announced his ruling to a crowded courtroom.

The three U.S. Army Green Berets were killed Nov. 4, as their convoy waited at the gate to the base. Jordan initially said the Americans triggered the shooting by disobeying entry rules, a claim that was later withdrawn.

The U.S. Embassy said in a statement Monday that the trial "confirmed that the deceased U.S. service members followed all established procedures when accessing the base the day of the incident, as we have noted before."

"We are reassured to see the perpetrator brought to justice," it said.

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The third soldier killed , Staff Sgt. Lewellen, who lives in Kirksville, Mo., about 200 miles northwest of St. Louis, said the killings of the American troops amounted to a capital crime and warrant a punishment more severe than life at hard labor.

The third soldier killed , Staff Sgt. Lewellen, who lives in Kirksville, Mo., about 200 miles northwest of St. Louis, said the killings of the American troops amounted to a capital crime and warrant a punishment more severe than life at hard labor.

The victims were 27-year-old Staff Sgt. Matthew C. Lewellen of Kirksville, Missouri; 30-year-old Staff Sgt. Kevin J. McEnroe of Tucson, Arizona; and 27-year-old Staff Sgt. James F. Moriarty of Kerrville, Texas.

Relatives of the slain troops attended parts of the month-long trial in Jordan's capital of Amman.

Some of the family members had criticized Jordan's handling of the case and said the maximum possible sentence of life in prison was not severe enough, calling for the death penalty.

In Jordan, life in prison can mean 20 years, with time off for good behavior.

Earlier this year, a Jordanian soldier who killed seven Israeli schoolgirls in a 1997 shooting rampage was released after 20 years.

Defense attorney Subhi al-Mawas said he would appeal the sentence.

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