Thursday, December 04, 2008

Martinez Trial - Verdict

The verdict is in for Alberto Martinez:
Military jury acquits Martinez of all charges

FORT BRAGG, N.C. In a stunning verdict following a three-and-a-half year legal battle, Staff Sgt. Alberto Martinez of Rensselaer County was acquitted of killing two superior officers late today.

In the military courtroom on the sprawling Fort Bragg base, family members erupted in astonishment when they heard Martinez had been acquitted of premeditated murder during the court martial.

"You slaughtered our husbands and that's it!?" Barbara Allen, a widow of one of the victims, screamed at Martinez. "You piece of (expletive). You murdered my husband."

Allen, who was married to 1st Lt. Louis Allen, 34, of Milford, Pa., and Siobhan Esposito, widow of Capt. Phillip Esposito, 30, of Suffern, put their heads in their hands and sobbed uncontrollably when they heard the verdict. Esposito and Allen were killed on a military base in Tikrit, Iraq.

Martinez, 41, a National Guardsman from Schaghticoke, showed no emotion as he was escorted out of the courtroom, a free man. He faced the death penalty if convicted.

I don't even know what to say. I don't believe for a second that Alberto Martinez is innocent. But I guess there's nothing left to do but live with the verdict; live with the fact that two good men died, and the guy I believe is responsible for their deaths gets to walk. It's not the first time in human history this has happened, and it sure as hell won't be the last. But it still sucks.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Martinez trial jury deliberations - Day 1

Here's the latest:
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) -- A military jury hasn't reached a verdict in the case against a New York Army National Guard soldier accused of killing two superior officers in Iraq.

Jurors deciding the fate of Staff Sgt. Alberto Martinez deliberated for about eight hours Wednesday at Fort Bragg without reaching a decision. The 14-member panel was scheduled to resume its work Thursday morning.


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Home stretch - The trial of Alberto Martinez

Here's the latest on the case:
Military panel gets fragging case; soldier faces death penalty

West Point — A military panel will begin deliberations Wednesday to decide the fate of Staff Sgt. Alberto Martinez, a soldier accused of killing two local officers from the New York National Guard while the three were deployed together in Iraq.

The case is the first in either the Iraq or Afghanistan wars in which a soldier is accused of killing a superior officer, a crime known as “fragging.”

A unanimous guilty verdict could mean a death sentence for Martinez of Troy, who is charged with the premeditated murder of Capt. Phil Esposito of Suffern and 1st Lt. Lou Allen, a native of Chester. The three were serving together with the 42nd Infantry Division in Tikrit, Iraq, on June 7, 2005, when the killings occurred.

Allen and Esposito died after a Claymore mine detonated just outside Esposito’s room, as the two were playing a game of Risk. In closing arguments broadcast live Tuesday to West Point from Fort Bragg, N.C., prosecutor Maj. John Benson said Martinez was the only one capable of obtaining the mine, as well as the grenades used as a diversion in the attack.

About half-dozen of Allen’s family members watched the live video feed of the trial at West Point Tuesday. Allen’s wife, Barbara, and his parents, Bob and Vivian Allen, were with Esposito’s family in Fort Bragg.

After 3+ years, the end is finally in sight. I hope the verdict provides the Esposito and Allen families with some closure. I think they've been waiting too long as it is. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

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