1LT Michael Behenna is scheduled to go to trial for premeditated murder on 23 February 2009. This trial will take place at Fort Campbell and Judge Theodore E. Dickson will preside. A panel (or jury) of officers will consider the evidence presented by the Government. The first day of the trial will probably consist of panel selection and possibly opening Arguments. There are good lawyers on both sides of the fence in this case. Mr. Jack Zimmeran, a civilian defense counse out of Texas, is an extremely competent and experienced attorney, who is representing 1LT Behenna. He is being assisted by two appointed Trial Defense Attorneys from Iraq and his civilian co-counsel. On the other side, the Government has a capable team of prosecutors consisting of CPT Megan Poirier, CPT Erwin Roberts and CPT Elbert. CPT Poirier has lead the charge on this case since the facts began to develop in Iraq in June and July of last year.
1LT Behenna is being tried for the premeditated murder of Ali Mansur. Ali Mansur was a detainee that was scheduled to be released by 1LT Behenna’s platoon on 16 May 2009. Subsequently, Ali Mansur’s burnt naked body was found in the desert.
The trial should take about a week. Evidence presented will consist of Iraqi witnesses brought from Iraq to testify. Members of the platoon who were there the night the events took place. Expert witnesses to testify to the validity and interpetation of the scientific evidence.
The 101st has had several of these kinds of cases over the last few years. Notable, 2nd Brigade of the 101st had a series of detainee death cases several years ago, but these cases were different in that facts did not immediately come to light and at least one of the soldiers involved had ended his term of service prior to be charged with the offenses.