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Thread: US Army sniper found guilty of murder

  1. #1
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    Default US Army sniper found guilty of murder

    http://www.ktvb.com/news/localnews/s...abefc610.html#

    BAGHDAD - A U.S. Army sniper accused of killing an unarmed Iraqi civilian and planting evidence on his body was found guilty on all charges Sunday.

    Jurors deliberated for three hours before finding Sgt. Evan Vela of St. Anthony, Idaho guilty of murder without premeditation. He had previously been charged with premeditated murder, but that charge was changed during his court-martial in Baghdad.

    Vela was also found guilty of making a false official statement and of conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline.

    He faces a possible sentence of life in prison. After the verdict, proceedings entered a sentencing phase Sunday afternoon.

    Sgt. Evan Vela, charged with killing the man and then planting an AK-47 on his body, appeared emotionless as he watched Sunday's arguments. The day before, he wept on the stand as he recalled the killing.

    "It's a simple case," said Capt. Jason Nef, one of two military prosecutors. "The reason is because Vela confessed on the stand that he lied. He confessed he killed an unarmed Iraqi."

    James Culp, Vela's attorney, argued that the case was more complex.

    In the first two days of Vela's court-martial in Baghdad, Culp accused military investigators of incompetence and called a parade of witnesses to testify about the extreme mental and physical fatigue the snipers said they were under last spring, when the killing took place.

    "This was an accident waiting to happen," Culp told the jury of seven men and one woman in his closing argument. "What happened on May 11 is clear: These men were extremely, extremely sleep deprived and nobody was thinking clearly."

    On Saturday, the defense called two medical experts who supported their claim that Vela shot and killed the Iraqi civilian on May 11 because he was suffering from acute sleep deprivation and exhaustion. They said he later lied about the events in part because he suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome.

    Vela testified Saturday that he shot the Iraqi man, Genei Nasir al-Janabi, after he stumbled upon the snipers' hiding place near Iskandariyah, a town about 30 miles south of Baghdad. The soldiers had hiked through rough terrain and slept less than five hours in the previous three days, Vela said.

    The short, stocky Army sergeant from St. Anthony, Idaho, sat nearly motionless on the stand during his nearly three hours of testimony Saturday, softly thumbing the hem of his camouflage jacket and looking straight ahead.

    In a hushed voice, he said he could not recall the exact moment he killed al-Janabi.

    "I don't remember pulling the trigger. I don't remember the sound of the shot," Vela said, tears rolling down his face, in response to his own lawyer's questions. "It took me a few seconds to realize that the shot came from my pistol."

    Two other soldiers Sgt. Michael Hensley, of Candler, N.C., and Spc. Jorge G. Sandoval Jr., of Laredo, Texas have faced similar charges in al-Janabi's killing as well as two other slayings. They were acquitted of murder but convicted of planting evidence on the dead Iraqis.

    Sandoval was sentenced to five months in prison, his rank was reduced to private and his pay was withheld. Hensley was sentenced to 135 days confinement, reduced in rank to sergeant and received a letter of reprimand.

    The soldiers were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, based at Fort Richardson, Alaska.


    *******************************

    This is outrageous.

    Accusing people of murder in a war is like handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500.




  2. #2
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    Absurd!
    It's not like it was intentional and even if it were, this is a war, and what makes it worse, I've seen some videos by the terrorists themselves, it is hard to identify who are the terrorists and who are the innocent civilians.

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    So I guess we can charge many iraqi for murder too for 9/11.Those people where innocent civilians too.And anyway how can we tell if they are civilians or the terrorists.They all look the same.For all we know,some of the terrorist could be pretending to be civilians and have a bomb on them.There mad bombers.
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    So, he put the AK-47 on the Iraqi's body to make out that he fired first, right?
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    Well I believe it was intentional, but... like it says right there, he had sleep depravation, combined that with the stress of being in a war zone, and combine that with the stress of what his job was. And who knows, that non combatant could have told anyone about his hiding spot. It would actually make sense that the person was shot if it were close up, was he wearing a jacket or anything to hide something? Maybe they thought he could have hid explosives? I don't know. They found him guilty but that doesn't mean anything, stuff like this just really bugs me.

    I assume the main thing they were concerned about is the fact that the Sgt. and the 2 others planted the weapon and tried to cover it up. I don't see what difference it makes in him being charged with murder though, they should be disciplined but not anything like THIS.

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    Too bad they were not officers, then they would have been offered a quiet retirement and no legal action.

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    I love it when this kinda stuff comes up. In a warzone you get half of a second to make a decision and some bureaucrat gets 6 months to criticize it.

    Was it right for that soldier to kill the iraqi? Maybe. Was it right to plant evidence on him afterwards? Absolutely not! None of us, not even me, on this forum can judge the man's actions because we weren't there with him at that moment.

    But I can say this: you don't sneak up on an Army sniper team without a.) trying to and b.) being really good at it. So it personally sounds fishy to me about what that iraqi was doing there. But I refuse to comment any more on it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Meyrin View Post
    So I guess we can charge many iraqi for murder too for 9/11.Those people where innocent civilians too.And anyway how can we tell if they are civilians or the terrorists.They all look the same.For all we know,some of the terrorist could be pretending to be civilians and have a bomb on them.There mad bombers.
    Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. Separate issue. We suspected they had nukes. We invaded. They didn't...or at least, not at the time we went in.
    Last edited by Gjallarhorn; 02-16-2008 at 03:31 AM.

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    He deserves the Medal of Merit.
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    Military justice. This is how it works, so listen up:

    If the military in question is still operation, It is always the foot soldiers that take the blow. Never the CO:s. And NEVER EVER the generals. This is not so strange, since the military is pretty much in charge of it's own punishment, so naturally they'll put the heat on the most expendible element. It's strange that, for pulling the strings, the CO:s have very little idea of what's going on. I refer you to the outcomes of the Abu Grahib trials.

    If the military in question is defunct, it is always the CO:s and generals that take the blow for whatever arbitrary charges, (coincidentally they were all just following orders). But heads must roll, and roll they shall. I refer you to the Nürnberg trials.

    That's all you ever need to know about military justice. It's politics. Not justice. Never was anything else. Command responsibility is the current powers that be flicking off the previous powers that be. Don't confuse it with anything else.
    Last edited by Eris; 02-16-2008 at 07:55 AM.

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    Strangely enough, for being a civvie, Eris is pretty spot on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaSOCOM View Post
    Strangely enough, for being a civvie, Eris is pretty spot on.

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    Of course I am. I'm a cynic. I can't help being right about these stuff.

    Scenario: What if the American administration was sitting in front of the Nuremberg tribunal, accused of war crimes in Iraq. I've bolded the relevant charges (doesn't mater how they justify them now, just whether you can bend history sufficiently to pull off these charges):

    "Following World War II, communis opinio was that the atrocities committed by the Nazis were so severe a special tribunal had to be held. However, critics have accused the prosecution of the Nazis as being victor's justice. The Nuremberg Charter determined the basis to prosecute people for:

    1. Crimes against peace: the planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing.
    2. War crimes: violations of the laws and customs of war. A list follows with, inter alia, murder, ill-treatment or deportation into slave labour or for any other purpose of the civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the seas, the killing of hostages, the plunder of public or private property, the wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.
    3. Crimes against humanity: murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhuman acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated.
    " (text from wikipedia)

    Naturally, nobody will ever be charged with these things, since it is not politically convenient now -- but was back then. That is my point. Military justice is a justice of political convenience. It's about making a statement, and holding up appearances. Not about whether people are actually is guilty or not.
    Last edited by Eris; 02-16-2008 at 08:07 AM.

  14. #14
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    I think the whole laws of war is retarded (well most of them). I'm against the war, but so are a lot of the soldiers there. Walk into a highschool and try to tell most of them apart; I just as if not harder to to tell the people over there apart. as for the planting evidence. If accidentally shot a civilian and knew I was going to get charged with murder I would have done the same.
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    Quote Originally Posted by unforgivenhope View Post
    I think the whole laws of war is retarded (well most of them). I'm against the war, but so are a lot of the soldiers there. Walk into a highschool and try to tell most of them apart; I just as if not harder to to tell the people over there apart. as for the planting evidence. If accidentally shot a civilian and knew I was going to get charged with murder I would have done the same.
    The laws of war are retarded because they're only ever used to further abuse an already beaten enemy. In theory, they're a great thing. In practice, they're not.

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    In regards to the charges made against Sgt. Evan Vela, I have to say that it is a difficult case. It is hardly any kind of secret that in that kind of environment, working on day after day with little to no sleep, in conjunction with what I'm presuming to be an incredible amount of stress, a 'mistake' like this is likely to happen. Not to say that it will, but considering the circumstances, it is likely.

    From this perspective, I can see what Sgt. Vela's lawyer. James Culp, was trying to say.

    Also, in conjunction with what Eris has stated, I have to say that something doesn't seem quite right with this. Of course, I am not in any position to judge as I only know a few of the supposed facts, and I most certainly wasn't there at the time of the incident. But still... I guess I can't help but wish that I knew what was really going on at the time that occured.

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  18. #18
    Senior Member Sanosuke23 has a reputation beyond repute Sanosuke23 has a reputation beyond repute Sanosuke23 has a reputation beyond repute Sanosuke23 has a reputation beyond repute Sanosuke23 has a reputation beyond repute Sanosuke23 has a reputation beyond repute Sanosuke23 has a reputation beyond repute Sanosuke23 has a reputation beyond repute Sanosuke23 has a reputation beyond repute Sanosuke23 has a reputation beyond repute Sanosuke23 has a reputation beyond repute Sanosuke23's Avatar
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    Eris covered the why, and even though it's some BS that it goes down that way it's pretty much true.

    Personally, I find it perfectly acceptable for a nest of snipers to kill somebody who, from what I heard previously, was yelling, gesturing at their location, and generally giving them away.

    Then again, I cheered when those soldiers opened fire on that newscaster that was giving away camoflauged tank positions on international television a couple of years back.

  19. #19
    SPQR Sagat has a reputation beyond repute Sagat has a reputation beyond repute Sagat has a reputation beyond repute Sagat has a reputation beyond repute Sagat has a reputation beyond repute Sagat has a reputation beyond repute Sagat has a reputation beyond repute Sagat has a reputation beyond repute Sagat has a reputation beyond repute Sagat has a reputation beyond repute Sagat has a reputation beyond repute Sagat's Avatar
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    What?? I never heard of that. What's the story on that newscaster?

  20. #20
    ~Lolitaloid~ Asriel has a reputation beyond repute Asriel has a reputation beyond repute Asriel has a reputation beyond repute Asriel has a reputation beyond repute Asriel has a reputation beyond repute Asriel has a reputation beyond repute Asriel has a reputation beyond repute Asriel has a reputation beyond repute Asriel has a reputation beyond repute Asriel has a reputation beyond repute Asriel has a reputation beyond repute Asriel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by omniking3 View Post
    The USA is NOT perfect. By no means is it perfect.

    It will never be perfect no matter how much people try to fix it!!!

    I think thats just stupid,besides,who knows that supposedly minding there own business civilian could have been doing something secretly,probably did us all a favor by killing the person =_=
    Set by me.

    I was Hieko.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Sanosuke23 has a reputation beyond repute Sanosuke23 has a reputation beyond repute Sanosuke23 has a reputation beyond repute Sanosuke23 has a reputation beyond repute Sanosuke23 has a reputation beyond repute Sanosuke23 has a reputation beyond repute Sanosuke23 has a reputation beyond repute Sanosuke23 has a reputation beyond repute Sanosuke23 has a reputation beyond repute Sanosuke23 has a reputation beyond repute Sanosuke23 has a reputation beyond repute Sanosuke23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sagat View Post
    What?? I never heard of that. What's the story on that newscaster?
    They were filming near an ambush point or something, and the reporter starts telling the camera exactly where the tank is and how to spot it despite the camo, all of a sudden the ground near them and the side of their truck is full of bullets.

    They book it into the truck, and when he realizes who shot at them he's like "I can only assume they thought we were enemy soldiers and opened fire!"

  22. #22
    SPQR Sagat has a reputation beyond repute Sagat has a reputation beyond repute Sagat has a reputation beyond repute Sagat has a reputation beyond repute Sagat has a reputation beyond repute Sagat has a reputation beyond repute Sagat has a reputation beyond repute Sagat has a reputation beyond repute Sagat has a reputation beyond repute Sagat has a reputation beyond repute Sagat has a reputation beyond repute Sagat's Avatar
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    What a retard. 100% deserved... looking for more on the net cause this is great.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Sanosuke23 has a reputation beyond repute Sanosuke23 has a reputation beyond repute Sanosuke23 has a reputation beyond repute Sanosuke23 has a reputation beyond repute Sanosuke23 has a reputation beyond repute Sanosuke23 has a reputation beyond repute Sanosuke23 has a reputation beyond repute Sanosuke23 has a reputation beyond repute Sanosuke23 has a reputation beyond repute Sanosuke23 has a reputation beyond repute Sanosuke23 has a reputation beyond repute Sanosuke23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sagat View Post
    What a retard. 100% deserved... looking for more on the net cause this is great.
    I heard it on the radio when the local rock station switched to a talk format, so that was a good two years ago and I only heard the audio.

    You could clearly hear the van get hit and the guns firing, they sounded close-ish.

    Man, I loved that so much. It's like Geraldo, I was hoping he got a rifle butt to the face and an abrupt signal drop when he was drawing plans in the sand on Fox but no dice.

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