A US sergeant became on Monday the second non-commissioned officer to be convicted of murder for the summary executions of four bound and blindfolded prisoners in Iraq in 2007.
Sergeant First Class Joseph P. Mayo told a court martial in Germany that the men of Middle Eastern appearance were shot in the back of the head with nine-millimetre pistols and their bodies dumped in a Baghdad canal.
“I thought it (the executions) was in the best interests of my soldiers,” Mayo told the court in Vilseck, Germany after pleading guilty to murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
He said that the men had been arrested after a number of attacks on their unit, and that in the same building troops had found two sniper rifles, AK-47 assault rifles and a duffel bag full of ammunition.
According to documents quoted by the New York Times, the US soldiers were told by superiors to release the men for lack of evidence.
Mayo, 27, is one of seven soldiers implicated in the case, and one of three non-commissioned officers to be tried for murder.