Army Witnesses Killed in Crash
- Hawaii soldiers died before testifying
Saturday, September 1, 2007
The Army has confirmed that "several" of the 10 Schofield Barracks
soldiers who died in an Aug. 22 helicopter crash in northern Iraq were
witnesses in a murder case involving two other Schofield soldiers
accused of shooting an Iraqi detainee.
"Their tragic deaths do not affect the prosecution of the cases, which
will proceed as planned," said Lt. Col. Michael Donnelly, a spokesman
for Task Force Lightning in northern Iraq.
None of the soldiers who died in the Black Hawk helicopter crash was
in any way implicated in any misconduct related to the Iraqi man's
death, Donnelly said.
Sgt. 1st Class Trey A. Corrales, of San Antonio, and Spc. Christopher
P. Shore of Winder, Ga., were charged with one count of premeditated
murder in the death of the unidentified man.
The shooting occurred June 23 in al Saheed near the northern city of
Kirkuk, according to a charge sheet previously obtained by The Advertiser.
Corrales is accused of shooting the Iraqi detainee multiple times with
his rifle, and then directing Shore to also shoot the man. Shore also
is accused in the charge sheet with shooting the detainee multiple times.
The soldiers are assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company,
2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment the same unit involved in the
helicopter crash. The military said a mechanical malfunction, and not
enemy fire, caused the crash.
The 2-35 battalion commander, Lt. Col. Michael Browder, was relieved
of his command in connection with the murder investigation although he
was not a suspect and was not charged, the military said.
Military officials approved a defense request for a delay in Article
32 hearings, which were expected to be held in Iraq, Donnelly said.
The military hearing is similar to a civilian grand jury proceeding,
and will determine whether the case moves to court-martial.
The defense request to delay the Article 32 hearings will result in
the court proceedings being held at Schofield after the unit redeploys
back to Hawai'i, Donnelly said. Tentatively, the hearings are set for
mid-October, but that date also could change.
Corrales was moved to Forward Operating Base McHenry, about 30 miles
southwest of Kirkuk, while Shore was at Kirkuk Airbase. Both were
assigned limited duties and were under supervision.
Shore, 25, said in an e-mail to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in
August that he was being punished for being honest with his superiors
about a mission he felt was morally wrong.
"I'm not a murderer," Shore wrote. "This isn't fair to me or my family."
Army officials have declined to discuss the details of the case.
While on a night mission in al Saheed, Shore says he and his fellow
soldiers were ordered by Corrales, their patrol leader, to "kill all
the males" in a house where soldiers of Company A of the 2nd
Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, were allegedly trapped by
insurgents. During the mission, Shore said he heard shots.
He ran toward the sound and found Corrales standing over a badly
injured man on the ground at the backdoor of the house.
Corrales, 34, ordered Shore to "finish him," but Shore said he
purposely missed the man when he fired his M-4 carbine.
"It was an intense, complicated mission," Shore said. "We had to be
switched on. Everything was split-second decisions."
The wounded man was treated by medics and evacuated to a combat
hospital, where he died two days later from gunshot wounds.
Shore's attorney, Michael Waddington, said bullets fired from his
client's weapon did not hit the man. An autopsy showed the five
gunshots that killed the man were fired from a distance rather than at
close range, Waddington said.
Hours after the incident, Shore and four other soldiers agreed to tell
their supervising sergeants about the shooting. They felt what
happened was wrong.
Shore is barred from carrying his weapon or riding out in a Humvee
onto Iraq's battlefields. If he's found guilty, he could get the death
Corrales' brother, Jeffrey, who lives in San Antonio, in July said his
brother is a decorated war hero who would never kill without
Trey Corrales is a 14-year Army veteran who earned two Bronze Stars
and an Audie Murphy award for combat performance in Afghanistan, his
"This is ridiculous what they're doing to him," Corrales said at the
time in a telephone interview. "Of course I stand behind my brother
Corrales said his brother's wife, Lily, is an Army veteran and that
the couple live on the Aliamanu Military Reservation with their two
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