Posted on Thu, Apr. 08, 2004
U.S. Soldier to Be Tried in Iraq SUV Heist
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. - A soldier accused of stealing a sheik's truck at gunpoint in Iraq will face a court-martial, Fort Campbell announced Thursday.
Sgt. 1st Class James Williams, with the Fort Campbell-based 101st Airborne Division's 326th Engineer Battalion, is charged with one count of robbery and one count of dereliction of duty.
The decision for the case to proceed to court-martial was made by Maj. Gen. David Petraeus, commander of Fort Campbell, 50 miles north of Nashville.
The decision followed a military hearing in which Williams' attorney, Michael Love, said Williams only "commandeered" the vehicle in April 2003 in Mosul, Iraq, because the platoon's Humvee broke down.
Love has said the Army is using Williams as a political scapegoat after Sheik Ahmed W. Al-Faisal was repaid $32,000 in cash by the U.S. government for the loss of the SUV.
Williams did what he thought was right at the time because the vehicle was to be used for military purposes and the war was not declared over, Love said.
A second charge of dereliction of duty and a count of making a false official statement were dropped.
Williams is scheduled to be arraigned April 26 at Fort Campbell.