President Trump has pardoned a former Military lieutenant who was convicted in 2009 of killing an Iraqi prisoner suspected of being an Al Qaeda terrorist, the White Home introduced Monday night.
White Home Press Secretary Sarah Sanders cited “broad help” for Michael Behenna, of Edmond, Okla., “from the army, Oklahoma elected officers, and the general public” — together with 37 generals and admirals, together with a former Pentagon inspector common — as the explanation for Trump’s clemency grant. Sanders additionally mentioned Behenna had been a “mannequin prisoner” whereas serving his sentence.
“In gentle of those details, Mr. Behenna is completely deserving of this Grant of Govt Clemency,” Sanders concluded.
A army courtroom initially sentenced Behenna to 25 years for unpremeditated homicide in a fight zone. Nonetheless, the Military’s highest appellate courtroom famous concern about how the trial courtroom had dealt with Behenna’s declare of self-defense, Sanders mentioned. The Military Clemency and Parole Board decreased his sentence to 15 years and paroled him in 2014, as quickly as he was eligible.
Behenna acknowledged throughout his 2008 trial that as an alternative of taking prisoner Ali Mansur residence as he was ordered, he took the person to a railroad culvert, stripped him, after which questioned him at gunpoint a couple of roadside bombing that had killed two members of Behenna’s platoon.
Behenna, who was 24 on the time, mentioned he acted in self-defense when Mansur threw a bit of concrete at him and reached for the lieutenant’s handgun. Military prosecutors mentioned the argument didn’t rise up as a result of Behenna was already pointing his weapon on the prisoner.
In 2018, Behenna’s mother and father instructed Fox Information the prosecution didn’t disclose that their very own knowledgeable’s evaluation supported their son’s model of occasions. The knowledgeable felt so strongly that he reached out to the Behennas about his findings.
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Oklahoma Legal professional Common Mike Hunter initially requested a pardon for Behenna in February 2018 and renewed his request final month. Hunter mentioned he believed Behenna’s conviction was unjustified due to misguided jury directions and the failure of prosecutors to show over proof supporting a self-defense declare. The White Home assertion mentioned that former Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and “quite a few members” of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation had additionally expressed help for Behenna.
Fox Information’ Elizabeth Llorente and The Related Press contributed to this report.