Donald Trump has pardoned a former U.S. soldier convicted of killing an Iraqi prisoner in 2009, the White House announced Monday.
According to reports, former Army 1st Lt. Michael Behenna was ordered to take the prisoner home, instead, he took the man to a railroad culvert, stripped the victim naked and pointed a gun at him. The Iraqi–a suspected al Qaeda terrorist–is believed to have killed two members of Behenna’s platoon.
The Oklahoma native alleged the man took a step toward him and out of fear shot him. Behenna was convicted of unpremeditated murder and paroled in 2014 and was to remain on parole until 2024. However, Trump signed a full pardon for the former soldier.
Originally, a military court sentenced him to 25 years in prison. However, there was a concern by the Army highest appellate court about how the trial handled Behenna’s self-defense claim. The Army Clemency and parole board reduced his sentence to 15 years and paroled him as soon as he was eligible.
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Behenna demonstrated exemplary behavior while in prison and “in light of these facts, Mr. Behenna is entirely deserving”