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#28328

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MICHAEL BEHENNA

Lieutenant U.S. Army

SUMMARY

1LT Behenna was deployed with the 101 Airborne to Iraq in 2007. On April 21, 2008,  1LT Behenna’s platoon was struck by a roadside bomb that killed two soldiers and grievously wounded several others.  LT Behenna was severely psychologically impacted by the loss of his men as a result of this incident.

 

On May 5th , 1LT Behenna received information about a man, Ali Mansur Mohamed, whom military intelligence suspected to be working for Al Qaeda in Iraq and was responsible for the April 21 st attack. 1LT Behenna’s platoon, acting on this information, raided a house in Butoma where they found Mansur, along with a cache of ammunition and an RPK light machine gun. After securing Mansur and the arms cache, 1LT Behenna’s platoon turned Mansur over to military intelligence for questioning. Two weeks later, Mansur was freed and 1LT Behenna’s platoon was tasked with the return of Mansur to town.

 

On May 16th, while returning Mansur to a checkpoint, 1LT Behenna’s platoon stopped and with the help of an interpreter, attempted to question Mansur about the April 21 st attacks. During the interrogation,Mansur threw a rock at 1LT Behenna’s head and lunged for LT Behenna’s weapon. 1LT Behenna, acting in self-defense, shot Mansur. On July 31 st , 2008 1LT Behenna was relieved of his command and charged with premeditated murder of Ali Mansur Mohamed.

 

1LT Behenna’s trial began on February 23, 2009 and was convicted of unpremeditated murder and was sentenced to 25 years of confinement. During the trial, 1LT Behenna testified that while he was interrogating Mansur, he turned to look at the interpreter and in that moment, Mansur lunged for his weapon. During a recess after 1LT Behenna’s testimony, prosecution expert witness Dr. Herbert MacDonnell, told the prosecution team that based on the location of his injuries, Mansur was standing when he was shot, contradicting the prosecution’s theory and confirming 1LT Behenna’s testimony. Dr. MacDonnell was then dismissed by the prosecution, and he immediately alerted the defense counsel of this exculpatory evidence. The prosecution denied possession of such evidence when questioned by the defense counsel.

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