The U.S. Army has dropped charges against a paratrooper accused of killing two Iraqi boys during a botched 2007 mission in Diyala Province.
Corps Commander Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza of Joint Base Lewis-McChord dropped charges against Sergeant First Class Michael Barbera after reviewing results of a pretrial hearing held last spring, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.
Iraqis Ahmad Khalid al-Timmimi, 15, and his brother Abbas, 14, were shot while tending to cattle on March 6, 2007. The U.S. Army did not investigate the killings until the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review looked into the incident in 2009 at the behest of former 82nd Airborne Division soldiers deployed with SFC Barbera’s cavalry squadron.
The soldiers who went to the Tribune-Review charged that SFC Barbera’s actions were unnecessary and resulted in reprisal suicide bombings that killed 10 soldiers, the paper reported. The decorated soldiers who went to the Tribune-Review also took their concerns to U.S. Army investigators in Fort Brag, North Carolina.
SFC Barbera’s lawyer called the murder allegations baseless, AP reported.