Judge: US soldier premeditated Iraq killings

Soldiers assisting with communications and security tasks stand outside the building at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., where the court-martial for U.S. Army Sgt. John Russell began, Monday, May 6, 2013. Russell has already pleaded guilty to killing five fellow servicemen in Iraq in 2009, and and prosecutors are expected to argue that the killings were premeditated. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Soldiers assisting with communications and security tasks stand outside the building at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., where the court-martial for U.S. Army Sgt. John Russell began, Monday, May 6, 2013. Russell has already pleaded guilty to killing five fellow servicemen in Iraq in 2009, and and prosecutors are expected to argue that the killings were premeditated. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Washington (AP) — A military judge has found U.S. Army Sgt. John Russell guilty of premeditated murder in the 2009 killings of five fellow service members at a combat stress clinic in Iraq.

Russell now faces a sentencing phase to determine whether he will face life in prison with or without the possibility of release.

The 14-year veteran from Texas had previously pleaded guilty to unpremeditated murder in exchange for prosecutors taking the death penalty off the table. Under the agreement, prosecutors were allowed to try to prove to an Army judge at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state that the killings were premeditated.

An Army spokesman, Lt. Col. Gary Dangerfield, said the judge reached his decision Monday.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s