By Debbie Stevenson
Killeen Daily Herald
FORT HOOD Pfc. Lynndie England was found guilty Monday of six of the seven counts against her in the Armys Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal.
England, a 22-year-old Army reservist, now faces up to 10 years in prison. She was the last of nine soldiers to go on trial for abusing detainees in the fall of 2003.
The panel of five Fort Hood officers took less than two hours to reach a verdict, finding the Army prison clerk from Fort Ashby, W. Va., guilty of four counts of maltreatment of detainees and one count of committing an indecent act.
England showed no reaction as she stood at attention between her two military attorneys as the verdict was read.
She was acquitted of one count of conspiracy after the panel found her not guilty of conspiring with Pvt. Charles Graner, the reputed ringleader of the abuse, to maltreat a naked detainee at the end of a leash.
A photo of the event shows England, then 19, holding the man lying on the floor at the end of the leash. It was one of several showing the prison guards smiling before stripped detainees forced to form a human pyramid and placed in other sexually humiliating poses.
In testimony last week, Graner maintained his belief that the leash was an authorized use of control and the camera had been used to document for training purposes the mans extraction out of the cell. His testimony to that effect in May prompted the judge, Col. James Pohl, to throw out a guilty plea and sentencing deal was thrown out and a mistrial declared.
Englands lead military attorney, Capt. Jonathan Crisp, would not comment on the verdict.
The only reaction I can say is, I understand, he told reporters.
Englands court-martial is set to reconvene today for the sentencing phase.
Prosecutors have successfully argued in the cases that have gone to trial that the abuse was done for the amusement of a group of rogue guards from the night shift at the Abu Ghraib prison.
The defense teams have claimed the abuse is more widespread. They have blamed a breakdown in leadership at the prison, a blurring of the Geneva Conventions by all levels up to the White House and a lack of guidance to soldiers in Iraq for handling and interrogation of detainees.
Englands team sought also to highlight a learning disorder that made her overly compliant in chaotic situations and under total control of her boyfriend, Graner.
Six junior ranking members of the Maryland-based 372nd Military Police Company and two military intelligence soldiers have been convicted in the scandal. Sentences have ranged from four months to 10 years.
Contact Debbie Stevenson at firstname.lastname@example.org