War on Iraq

UPDATED: U.S. Soldier Convicted in Execution-Style Murder of Iraqi Detainees

Sgt. Joseph Mayo was sentenced to 35 years for his role in the killing, in which four Iraqis were bound, shot, and thrown in a canal.
Sgt. Mayo pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 35 years today, telling a military court that the murders were "in the best interest of my soldiers." Read more here.

A second U.S. soldier was convicted today for the execution-style killing of four Iraqi detainees in 2007.
"Wearing his dress uniform and speaking crispy and confidently, Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Mayo of Fort Bragg, N.C., pleaded guilty to charges of premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit premeditated murder at the proceeding at the U.S. Army's Rose Barracks in southern Germany," reports the Associated Press.
The 27-year-old Mayo, who will be sentenced later today, faces life in prison -- the same sentence that was meted out last month to 28-year-old Sgt. Michael Leahy, an Army medic who admitted to his role in the same set of murders. Leahy's trial attorneys tried, unsuccessfully, to block a videotaped confession in which he described shooting his gun "anywhere from a foot to a couple of inches away" from the Iraqi detainees, then dumping their bodies in a canal.
"When I shot the guy in the back of the head he fell back on me," Leahy described to interrogators. "When he fell back on me my arm went to the right and I fired again …"
"I shot the other guy. The other guy was right in front of me and I shot him. I don't think it actually killed him, although it would have later on."

Liliana Segura is a staff writer and editor of AlterNet's Rights and Liberties and War on Iraq Special Coverage.