- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 1, 2005

FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) — A former Abu Ghraib guard pleaded guilty yesterday to battery and two other charges in the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal as part of a deal with prosecutors on the eve of his trial.

Sgt. Javal Davis, 27, also pleaded guilty to dereliction of duty and making a false official statement to Army investigators after photographs of naked and abused prisoners became public last spring. Davis, from Roselle, N.J., will not be tried on two other charges he had faced: conspiracy and maltreating detainees.

Defense attorney Paul Bergrin told the Associated Press last week that Davis was working on a deal with prosecutors that would cap his sentence at 18 months.

Capt. Chuck Neill, a prosecution spokesman, acknowledged that a deal was made, but would not comment on its terms.

Later yesterday, the court accepted another guilty plea in the Abu Ghraib abuse cases.

The plea was entered by Spc. Roman Krol, a military intelligence soldier who was accused of pouring water onto detainees as they crawled naked on the floor, grabbing a prisoner by the throat and slapping him, and throwing a football at detainees.

Krol was sentenced to 10 months in prison.

A jury of officers and soldiers will be selected today for sentencing. Capt. Neill said the jury’s sentence recommendation will be compared with the deal offered to Davis, and that the lesser sentence will be served.

“We intend to present a very, very aggressive sentencing trial such that this panel will give him no punishment at all,” Mr. Bergrin said, adding that Davis likely will testify during the hearing.

Davis admitted yesterday that he stepped on the hands and feet of some of the seven detainees brought into his section of Abu Ghraib for punishment after a November 2003 disturbance in a prison tent camp nearby. He said he also fell with full weight on top of them.

Davis, serving with the Maryland-based 372nd Military Police Company, said he was upset because a female soldier had been hit in the face with a brick during the tent camp incident, and that he took out his anger on the prisoners.

“It hurt me on the inside and I just lost it,” said Davis, who stands about 6-foot-1 and weighs nearly 220 pounds. “I wasn’t trying to hurt them. I was just trying to scare them, but I did it.”

Davis, who did not appear in any of the notorious Abu Ghraib photos, also said he saw others abusing detainees, but he did not come forward.

Davis told the judge that he saw what he thought to be military and civilian intelligence personnel physically mistreating detainees and, among other things, using unmuzzled dogs to terrify prisoners prior to questioning.

The three charges to which Davis pleaded guilty carry a maximum punishment of 6 years in prison. Davis had faced up to 8 years.

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