HONOLULU – A Hawaii-based platoon sergeant accused of shooting an unarmed Iraqi and then ordering another U.S. soldier to "finish him" faces a court martial this week for premeditated murder.
Sgt. 1st Class Trey Corrales, of San Antonio, faces a minimum of life with parole if convicted.
The Iraqi man was shot multiple times in the head and chest near the town of Kirkuk when Corrales' platoon raided a suspected insurgent hide out on June 23. The U.S. military hasn't been able to identify the man by name.
Pvt. Christopher Shore, the soldier Corrales allegedly ordered to fire additional shots at the man, was found not guilty of third-degree murder in a February court-martial but convicted of aggravated assault. He was sentenced to 120 days in prison and a two-grade reduction in rank.
Shore, 26, who had the rank of specialist at the time of the incident, admitted he shot at the man but said he intentionally missed. The Winder, Ga. native said he fired his weapon because he was afraid of outwardly disobeying Corrales, a soldier his defense team portrayed as abusive and prone to violence.
Shore, who is currently serving his sentence at a Navy detention facility in Pearl Harbor, is expected to testify at Corrales' court-martial.
Besides premeditated murder, the Army is charging Corrales, 35, with wrongfully soliciting another soldier to shoot an unarmed, wounded Iraq. A third charge alleges Corrales wrongfully impeded an investigation into the incident by planting an AK-47 rifle next to the victim after he was shot.
Frank Spinner, Corrales' lawyer, did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Col. Donna Wright, who presided over Shore's trial, will serve as the judge.
A jury — called a "panel" in the military justice system — of at least five soldiers will determine Shore's guilt or innocence. They would also sentence Corrales if they convict him.
Corrales is due to be arraigned on Monday, while the trial is expected to start Wednesday and last three or four days.
The prosecution and the defense are expected to argue several motions before Wright on Monday, including one submitted by the government to prevent the introduction of evidence related to post-traumatic stress disorder.
The court-martial will be held at Wheeler Army Airfield and will likely last about three to five days.
Corrales and Shore deployed to Iraq for 15 months starting in mid-2006 with the 25th Infantry Division's 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team based at Schofield Barracks outside Honolulu.