Skip to comments.Soldiers testify in Akbar trial - (accused murdering two fellow soldiers - IRAQ)
Posted on 04/12/2005 5:54:49 PM PDT by Former Military Chick
(FORT BRAGG) - Almost a dozen eyewitness accounts marked the second day of testimony in the court martial of Sergeant Hasan Akbar.
Akbar is the army sergeant accused of murdering two fellow soldiers during the opening days of the war in Iraq.
Eleven former and present soldiers testified in a Fort Bragg courtroom about what they saw on March 22nd of 2003 at Camp Pennsylvania in Kuwait.
One officer said that Akbar admitted to him that he threw grenades into tents where soldiers were preparing for bed.
Akbar is accused of killing two people and wounding 14 others.
A number of witnesses testified to seeing Akbar on guard duty the day of the attack.
Among the things Akbar watched over was a supply of hand grenades.
Master Sergeant Rodlon Stevenson testified to seeing Akbar shoot Army Captain Christopher Seifert in the back.
Seifert was an intelligence officer with the 1st Brigade Combat team from the 101st Airborne Division.
Seifert later died.
In the last two days, 26 people who were at Camp Pennsylvania the day of the attack have testified.
Many said on the stand that Akbar is a strange person.
Someone they say spent a lot of time walking back and forth, and would sometimes fall asleep on the job.
Throughout the testimony, Sergeant Akbar sat quietly. He is often seen writing on a piece of paper. And on some occasions he is seen smiling during testimony.
Akbar could face the death penalty if he is convicted of premeditated murder.
The prosecution is hoping to paint a picture of someone who came to Kuwait with a plan to kill fellow soldiers.
Akbar's lawyers said while their client was behind the attack it wasn't planned, but rather the result of years of mental illness.
Testimony will continue tomorrow.
The prosecution has not announced how many more witnesses they plan to call.
May face the death penatly.
In the event you are following the Akbar case.
This is what PC does to a military force. People like this get promoted to Sergeant, and people die because of it.
Just hang him.
Allah Akbar !
So is the defense arguing that anyone who would practice Islam is, de facto, mentally ill????
I am a believer in a rules of law. That a man is innocent until proven guilty.
But, regarding this case, he was caught in the act of doing this. There are eye witnesses and frankly I trust what these witnesses saw and they saw him intentionally murder our fine soldiers.
He is entitled to a trial, but, there is no doubt in the verdict it will be guilty. The bigger question, will he receive the death sentence as he so richly deserves.
We are stationed at Ft Leavenworth. The old prison is no longer in use. It was built by the inmates past. Stone by stone. Hard labor.
Now they live in a college campus looking prison. Brand spanking new. It is said that the most violent or those on death row have been moved to other federal prison's. But, should he sentenced here, I will be at the gate holding a sign with the pictures of those he murdered.
Coward. Worthless .... ^(&(^%(&&^ %
Don't hold back, honey, tell us how you really feel.
I had enjoyed your comments on a previous thread of the trial of this man that I thought you might be interested in an update.
My hubby trained with the 101st before he went to Iraq....I hope this POS hangs.
I will reserve my replies until later....
IF I were to write what I'm thinking and feeling, right now, about the murderous diaperheaded pig, I'd be banned.
And, I don't think JimRob would accept my 'defense' that my statements were the result of years of the mental illness called islame.
Firing squad? Nope, get a rope!
....go ahead a smile now you POS, and we'll be smiling when they put that needle in your arm!
....to bad you won't be facing the firing squad though.
"...years of mental illness."
Are they really going to argue that the Military kept an insane person on active dute for years?
Investigators say grenades found on Akbar after attack
By ESTES THOMPSON / Associated Press
An Army sergeant had grenades and 26 rounds of rifle ammunition on him when he was taken into custody after a middle-of-the-night attack at a camp in the desert of Kuwait, court-martial witnesses said Wednesday.
Sgt. Hasan Akbar, 33, of the 101st Airborne Division was found with three grenades stuffed in a bag designed to hold his gas mask and with 26 rounds in the 30-round magazine of his M-4 rifle, witnesses told jurors.
The jury also heard a stipulation, or agreement between the prosecution and defense, that the bullet that killed one victim came from a rifle bearing Akbar's fingerprints.
Defense lawyers are not disputing that Akbar carried out the attack that killed two officers and wounded 14 other soldiers at Camp Pennsylvania in March 2003. Instead, they are focusing on saving Akbar from a death sentence with an insanity defense.
The 101st was camped in the desert while it prepared to enter Iraq behind the 3rd Infantry Division at the start of the U.S. invasion two years ago.
Agent Shawn Burke of the Army Criminal Investigation Division testified that he found three unexploded grenades in the bag two incendiary grenades that emit intense heat and one fragmentation grenade that blows shrapnel on explosion. The bag is called a promask carrier by soldiers, short for protective mask carrier.
"Is there a name on this promask carrier?" asked Lt. Col. Michael Mulligan, the chief prosecutor.
"Yes sir. The name is Akbar," Burke said.
Killed in the attack were Army Capt. Christopher Seifert, 27, who was shot in the back, and Air Force Maj. Gregory Stone, 40, who suffered 83 shrapnel wounds.
Akbar is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and 14 counts of attempted first-degree murder.
The 15 officers and senior sergeants serving as Akbar's jury heard testimony that four grenade safety pins were found near the three tents that were attacked, as were three shell casings.
They also heard lawyers stipulate that Akbar's fingerprints were on the M-4 rifle that fired the bullet that killed Seifert. Akbar's fingerprints also were on a generator that was shut off before the attack, darkening the area outside the tents.
Both sides also stipulated that a grenade fragment removed Seifert's from hand was from an M-67 grenade like that used in the attack. And they agreed that bullet fragments removed from Seifert's back came from a bullet fired by Akbar's weapon.
An officer has already testified that Akbar confessed to the attack when he was apprehended inside the camp early on March 23, 2003.
After testimony wrapped up Wednesday, prosecutors told the military judge overseeing the case, Col. Stephen Henley, they plan to introduce two passages from Akbar's diary they contend show he planned the attack. Prosecutors must prove premeditation for jurors to be able to consider a death sentence.
Defense lawyers asked Henley to require prosecutors to introduce three other diary sections at the same time. The judge told both sides to prepare briefs and be ready to argue the point before testimony resumes Thursday.
The court-martial is the first time since the Vietnam War that a soldier has been prosecuted for the murder of a fellow soldier during wartime.
Akbar's division is based at Fort Campbell, Ky., but his trial was moved to Fort Bragg, home of the division's higher command, the 18th Airborne Corps.
Testimony concludes for Wednesday in Akbar court-martial
FORT BRAGG, N.C. Seven witnesses took the stand in today's testimony at the court-martial of Fort Campbell Army Sergeant Hasan Akbar (AK'-bahr) before his trial recessed for the day at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
The seven witnesses testified about a variety of topics. Included were the scene of the attack against the 101st Airborne Division at Camp Pennsylvania in Kuwait and an accounting of the equipment found.
One Army investigator testified that three grenades were found in Akbar's gear when he was apprehended.
The trial resumes tomorrow.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press
Does sounds like he prepared well for what the defense will try to call an impulse due to mental defect. He's defective alright and it's still no excuse. There are just some people out there who are self centered, weak, mean, amoral, slimy, loathsome and only fit to be put away from society. So far he seems to fit the bill.
OK, DUH, HELLO, I just saw he was a army captian!!
Why was it two years until the trial?
I know there was a bit of a delay because many of the witnesses were in combat, but I believe the defense also stalled a bit with a sanity evaluation. Also, the military justice system has some characteristics in common with its civilian counterpart, including a rather glacial pace at times.
FMC, can you provide any additional insight here?
The biggest reason for the delay the following:
The April trial date represents a delay granted to defense attorneys, who say they want to gather evidence to support their argument that Akbar was insane at the time of the March 2003 attack, which came just days into the Iraq war.
I also ran across the following:
A Fort Bragg judge has postponed the trial of an Army sergeant accused of attacking his unit on the eve of the invasion of Iraq.
The delay was granted Tuesday to give Sgt. Hasan Akbar's lawyers more time to develop an insanity defense.
The judge, Col. Stephen R. Henley, postponed the court-martial from Oct. 25 to Feb. 15.
"I agree some additional time is needed to develop an insanity defense," he said during the hearing, which lasted about an hour and 10 minutes.
The trial date will come almost two years after the March 23, 2003, grenade attack at Camp Pennsylvania in Kuwait that left two officers dead and 14 soldiers wounded.
Akbar, a combat engineer who was with the 101st Airborne Division at the time of the attacks, is charged with two counts of premeditated murder and three counts of attempted premeditated murder. He faces death if convicted.
Wazir Ali Muhammad Al-Haqq, Akbar's lead civilian lawyer, said the defense needs extra time to prepare a "mental health defense."
Two defense mitigation experts - a cultural anthropologist and a psychiatrist - have only recently been hired to work on the case, and both need until March to do their work, he said.
Al-Haqq told Henley that when he joined the defense team in April that no work had been done to develop an insanity defense.
He said George Woods, the psychiatrist working on the case, has made a preliminary diagnosis and needs more time to develop it.
Al-Haqq declined after the hearing to elaborate on the diagnoses. "He believed there was indeed a strong indication of a mental health issue in this matter," he told Henley.
Woods has been working on the case under contract since July 20. Scharlette Holdman, a cultural anthropologist from Oakland, Calif., has been under contract since Aug. 4.
Her job, Al-Haqq said, is to interview Akbar's family. A previous defense expert, Deborah Grey, lost the trust of Akbar's mother, Quran Bilal, and was unable to finish her work.
Holdman replaced Grey and is working to complete the family interviews needed to finish a defense mitigation report. Al-Haqq said the report will explore Akbar's childhood and his schooling.
Holdman will talk to former girlfriends, family and anyone else with insight into Akbar's life, Al-Haqq said. "It goes into the roots of his life," he said.
Capt. David Coombs, one of Akbar's military lawyers, said the experts might need more money to do their jobs.
"Dr. Woods and Dr. Holdman are the heart of the defense strategy," he said.
Lt. Col. Mike Mulligan, a military prosecutor, said the government would not approve money for a Mercedes report when the law only calls for a Chevy report.
"The government does not intend to approve funding for $100,000, sir," Mulligan said.
Also on Tuesday, Akbar pleaded not guilty to all charges against him and requested that enlisted soldiers be included on the panel, or jury, that will hear his case.
Henley accepted the plea and the panel request, which means that at least one-third of the members will have to be enlisted soldiers.
Akbar looked more alert and awake than at previous hearings. Akbar suffers from sleep apnea, but Al-Haqq said the condition has been improving since Akbar began using a machine that keeps his airway open at night.
"Today was the first time I've seen some gleam in his eye," he said.
In previous hearings, Akbar dozed off at times. He did not fall asleep Tuesday.
thanks for the info
the accused gets more consideration than a disabled citizen in Florida
comment 17 update
As I was doing a bit of research on this news item I came across this article that talked about one of his victims.
I hope the jury hears of the fine men he took.
- - - - - - - -
Updates on the aftermath of Major Gregory Stone's death
The mood at Boises Gowen Field is solemn today following news of the death Tuesday of an Idaho guardsman in Kuwait. Maj. Gregory Stone, 40, died from wounds incurred in a grenade attack blamed on an Army sergeant. Stone, an Oregon native based in Boise, was pronounced dead Tuesday at an Army field hospital in Kuwait.
We lost one of our own, said Brig. Gen. Gary Sayler, commander of the 124th Wing of the Idaho Air Guard, said today.
That's the price he paid. That's the price the country pays.
Idaho officials dont know yet when Stones body will be returned to Idaho.
Today our thoughts and prayers are with the family and loved ones of of Major Stone, said Sayler. Major Stone upheld the finest traditions of the Air National Guard.
Gov. Dirk Kempthorne extended his prayers to Stones family.
This community will grieve, Kempthorne said today. We know that this is one of the occurrences with war. We will see casualties.
He was wonderful, the best son anybody could ask for, said his stepmother, Sally Stone of Riggins, Idaho.
Stones mother, Betty Lenzi of Ontario, Ore., said Wednesday she was too upset to talk.
Lt. Col. Tim Marsano, spokesman for the Idaho Air National Guard, said Stone, a 20-year active and reserve veteran of the Air Force, was the Air Liaison Officer with the Armys 101st Airborne Division at Camp Pennsylvania.
Stone was born in Weiser but grew up mostly in Portland, where he graduated from Benson High School and Oregon State University. He enlisted in 1983, went through the ROTC program at Oregon State and was commissioned in 1988. He eventually settled in Idaho.
Stone had two sons, ages 11 and 7, who live in Boise. The three often went fishing, and the boys recently convinced Stone to try snowboarding as well, said family friend and Chaplain Maj. Thomas G. Westall, who is retired from the U.S. Air Force. Westall, pastor of Mountain Home Bible Church, is serving as a spokesman for Stones ex-wife Tonya Stone. The two divorced in 2000, but Stone remained close and spent time with the boys every day, Westall said.
The kids are doing as well as can be expected right now, and their mom is extremely distraught, can barely talk, Westall said. He was a great dad and a great officer.
Stone is the second soldier to die in the attack apparently carried out Sunday by another member of his unit, the 101st Airborne Division, at a military base in Kuwait. Stone was an Air Guard liaison to the Army. Sgt. Asan Akbar is in custody in the attack. He was shipped to a military jail in Germany on Tuesday after a judge found probable cause to try him for the crime. Akbar, an American Muslim who told family members he was wary of going to war in Iraq, has not been charged.
Thanks for the ping, however there are threads already ongoing.
....sounds just like all the other scum defense attorneys, blame the victims!!!!
Surgically remove his limbs, place him in a urinal in Port Authority for about a week, then light the POS on fire and leave him there until he's dead.
Should read: "Akbar SHOULD face the death penalty if he is convicted of premeditated murder." (Andrew Jackson already would have hanged this guy. I don't like Jackson at all, but when it came to being a military leader, the guy know how to "git 'er done.")
I am Major Gregory Stone's fiance. For two long years we have waited to see this man face justice. The delay was the direct result of Hasan Akbar rotating through civilian lawyers. Each time one was fired, quit, or left for not being paid, the new one would request an extension to prepare. It is a relief to see the end of the legal proceedings in sight so we can begin to heal our hearts and souls. Thank you for keeping our loved ones in your thoughts.