Prosecutors to appeal ruling in fragging that killed Suffern Army captain
Prosecutors in the murder trial of a man accused of killing two Army officers in Iraq will appeal a court decision that prevents them from using potentially incriminating statements made by the accused to officers who arrested him.
Staff Sgt. Alberto Martinez, 40, of Troy, N.Y., is charged with two counts of premeditated murder in the 2005 deaths of Capt. Phillip Esposito, 30, of Suffern, who was his company commander, and 1st Lt. Louis E. Allen, 34, of Milford, Pa., second in command of the 42nd Infantry Division's headquarters support company in Tikrit, Iraq.
The statements in question were allegedly made by Martinez to an officer while he was being advised of his rights and to other law enforcement officers, but were not formally recorded.
Col. Stephen Henley, a military judge hearing pretrial motions, refused to admit the statements in the final court-martial scheduled for July and refused it again on appeal. The prosecution, however, was given the right to appeal to the Army Court of Criminal Appeals.
One aspect of this story that has been lost in the news media's (limited) coverage is the impact all of this is having on the families of the murdered men.
Family pleas over soldier's trial
CHESTER — Lou Allen's family has campaigned heavily to have the murder trial of his accused killer held at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
The military said no.
The family then campaigned to have a video feed broadcast to West Point so family and friends of 1st Lt. Allen, from Chester, and Capt. Phil Esposito of Suffern could watch as the much-postponed trial begins in late June.
Now the family doesn't think it will get that, either.
At a recent pre-trial hearing in Fort Bragg, N.C., the prosecution asked to have a video feed broadcast to an armory in Latham, N.Y., two hours away from Chester, and near the family of the accused, Staff Sgt. Alberto Martinez. The judge has not yet ruled on the motion.
OK, I'm no lawyer, but I fail to see how this (mis)treatment of the victims' families serves justice. Or is justice not a priority to the military in this case?