Sunday, June 25, 2006

Fragging; American Sgt Arrested for Killing two of his Officers

Sergeant Is Charged In Deaths Of Officers
Enemy Attack Was Initially Blamed

By Bradley Graham
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 17, 2005; A22

An Army staff sergeant has been charged with deliberately killing two officers whose deaths in Iraq last week were first reported to have been the result of an enemy mortar attack, the U.S. military announced yesterday.

Staff Sgt. Alberto B. Martinez, identified as a 37-year-old supply specialist with the 42nd Infantry Division, was charged with two counts of premeditated murder.

The officers killed were Martinez's company commander, Capt. Phillip T. Esposito, 30, of Suffern, N.Y., and the company's operations officer, 1st Lt. Louis E. Allen, 34, of Milford, Pa. On June 7, they had been conferring about the next day's missions in their headquarters building in Tikrit when an explosion occurred about 10 p.m., according to Army officials familiar with the case.

"The initial investigation by responders and military police indicated that a mortar round struck the window on the side of the building where Esposito and Allen were located at the time," said a statement issued late yesterday by the U.S. military command in Baghdad. "Upon further examination of the scene by explosive ordnance personnel, it was determined the blast pattern was inconsistent with a mortar attack."

Instead, investigators now say, the attack involved a mine or grenade or both.

Army spokesmen in Washington and Baghdad said they had no information on what may have motivated the attack. Martinez, whose home town is listed as Troy, N.Y., joined the 42nd Division -- a National Guard unit based in upstate New York -- 15 years ago.

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