By Debbie Stevenson
Killeen Daily Herald
FORT HOOD General courts-martial were ordered Friday for two 4th Infantry Division soldiers at Fort Carson accused in an alleged drowning of an Iraqi civilian earlier this year.
First Lt. Jack M. Saville and Sgt. 1st Class Tracy E. Perkins from the Fort Hood-based division's 3rd Brigade were formally charged June 7 with manslaughter, assault, conspiracy, false statements and obstruction of justice.
The decision to refer the charges to trial was made by Maj. Gen. James D. Thurman, a III Corps news release stated Friday.
"The charges are merely an accusation and the accused are presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty. Trial dates have not yet been set," the release stated.
The trials are expected to take place at Fort Hood.
Saville and Perkins were two of four soldiers from the Fort Carson-based brigade to face criminal proceedings in the alleged death of one of two Iraqi civilians forced to jump of a bridge spanning the Tigris River on Jan. 3 in Samarra.
Perkins and two other enlisted soldiers went before the investigating officer July 28 under Article 32 of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice. Saville waived his right to an Article 32 hearing, the military's equivalent of a grand jury.
During three days of hearings, defense attorneys for the soldiers questioned if 19-year-old Zaidoun Hassoun had drowned. Prosecutors said they did not examine a body produced later by his family after the defense disputed the death occurred and soldiers claimed they saw two men get out of the river.
Col. Brian Jones, the 3rd Brigade's commander, forwarded the charges to Thurman following pre-trial investigations, the III Corps release stated.
Contact Debbie Stevenson at email@example.com