NY Guardsman Acquitted of Fragging Officers

sgtmartinez.jpgA soldier in the New York National Guard has been acquitted by a military court of fragging two of his comrades while in Iraq, says the Fayetteville (NC) Observer, which serves the area around Fort Bragg, where the trial took place.

On June 7th, 2005, Captain Phillip Esposito 1st Lieutenant Louis Allen were killed by a claymore mine that exploded in the window of Esposito's office. Moments later grenades exploded nearby. Prosecutors contended that Staff Sgt. Alberto Martinez of Troy, New York set off the devices in order to kill the two officers, who had given him a hard time, and to make it look like a mortar attack. The defense maintained that many soldiers had access to the same ordnance, and it was not proven that Martinez set it off, though he was seen nearby afterwards.

Martinez could have been sentenced to death if found guilty. According to other reports, friends and relatives of the deceased yelled "murdering son of a bitch" and other epithets after the verdict was read.

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