US soldier gets life for killing Iraqi prisoners

A US sergeant convicted of murdering four bound and blindfolded Iraqis was sentenced to life in prison today.

John Hatley was found guilty yesterday of premeditated murder and conspiracy in the execution-style killings of the prisoners.

The prosecution said Hatley acted as “judge, jury and executioner” to hatch the plot and carry out the killings in spring 2007.

Hatley and two others took the men to a canal in Baghdad’s West Rasheed neighbourhood where they shot them in the back of the head with 9mm pistols.

The soldier, who had served in the first Gulf War, Kosovo and in Iraq, denied the charges.

Army prosecutor Capt Derrick Grace said that testimony had pointed to “a complete breakdown of discipline and crimes that are among the worst of a soldier”.

“On two separate occasions, the accused became the judge, jury and executioner,” he said.

Prosecutors said Hatley oversaw the shootings of detainees and had told his comrades they were going to “take care” of the Iraqis.

Hatley’s lawyer David Court told the court martial in Germany there was no physical evidence that the killings had happened.

The four Iraqis were taken into custody after an exchange of fire with Hatley’s unit and the discovery of weapons in a building where suspects had fled.

Two soldiers in Hatley’s unit, Sgt 1st Class Joseph Mayo and then-Sgt Michael Leahy, were convicted of the killings at separate courts martial earlier this year.

Another two soldiers pleaded guilty over the spring incident, one to conspiracy to commit premeditated murder and one to accessory to murder, and were jailed last year. Two others had charges of conspiracy to commit premeditated murder dropped this year.

All were with the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division in Baghdad. The unit is now part of the Germany-based 172nd Infantry Brigade.

More on this topic

Deadly protests continue in Iraqi capitalDeadly protests continue in Iraqi capital

Death toll in Iraq anti-government protests rises above 100Death toll in Iraq anti-government protests rises above 100

Several killed as security forces fire on protesters in IraqSeveral killed as security forces fire on protesters in Iraq

Death toll passes 40 in Iraqi anti-government protestsDeath toll passes 40 in Iraqi anti-government protests

More in this Section

Woman killed and suspect shot at home of Tarzan actor Ron ElyWoman killed and suspect shot at home of Tarzan actor Ron Ely

Trump: Turkey-Syria-Kurds face-off is not America’s fightTrump: Turkey-Syria-Kurds face-off is not America’s fight

Campaigners to launch bid to ban UK Government from putting Brexit deal before MPsCampaigners to launch bid to ban UK Government from putting Brexit deal before MPs

Woman found dead in apparent homicide at home of Tarzan star Ron Ely; Suspect shot deadWoman found dead in apparent homicide at home of Tarzan star Ron Ely; Suspect shot dead


Lifestyle

Food news with Joe McNamee.The Menu: All the food news of the week

Though the Killarney tourism sector has been at it for the bones of 150 years or more, operating with an innate skill and efficiency that is compelling to observe, its food offering has tended to play it safe in the teeth of a largely conservative visiting clientele, top-heavy with ageing Americans.Restaurant Review: Mallarkey, Killarney

We know porridge is one of the best ways to start the day but being virtuous day in, day out can be boring.The Shape I'm In: Food blogger Indy Power

Timmy Creed is an actor and writer from Bishopstown in Cork.A Question of Taste: Timmy Creed

More From The Irish Examiner