Guardsman sentenced to life in prison for shooting Afghan man

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 29, 2011 1:32 PM
Guardsman sentenced to life in prison for shooting Afghan man

NASHVILLE, Tenn (Reuters) - The National Guardsman who shot an Afghan electrician in the head at close range was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole, officials said on Friday.

Sergeant Derrick Miller was convicted of premeditated murder Wednesday by a 10-member panel of officers and enlisted personnel.

Miller was convicted of the September 26, 2010 shooting death of Atta Mohammed at or near Masamute Bala, Afghanistan.

During the three-day court-martial at Fort Campbell, a military post straddling the Kentucky-Tennessee state line, the soldier's attorney, Charles Gittins, argued the shooting was in self-defense and the sergeant considered the victim a threat.

The slain man's son told Reuters a few months ago that, while he wasn't there at the time, his understanding is that his father was taken from his home by U.S. and Afghan soldiers, beaten in a school bathroom and then shot in the head.

Prosecutors said Miller took another soldier's weapon, straddled the man on the ground and then shot him.

Miller, a member of a Connecticut National Guard, has been attached to Fort Campbell for the last few months.

(Reporting by Tim Ghianni; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Jerry Norton)