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Thursday, 18 June 2009

No jail for USSA serial killer

Most heinous attacks by USSA serial killer on Iraqi civilians. He admits to executing Iraqis who were bound and yet goes free

When Sgt. Michael Leahy Jr. was sentenced to life in prison this year for his role in the grisly, execution-style slayings of four bound Iraqi prisoners, the Downers Grove soldier's supporters banded together.

The verdict, for a crime that prosecutors ranked among the most heinous attacks by U.S. troops on Iraqi civilians, left Leahy's relatives shocked but undeterred. In letter after letter to the top Army official reviewing the case, family, friends, high school classmates and fellow soldiers attested to the character and good heart of the 28-year-old former Downers Grove South High School student, pleading for leniency.

Despite the nature of the crime, that leniency has been granted. Earlier this month, a brigadier general in Germany gave Leahy clemency, reducing his sentence from life in prison to 20 years with the possibility of parole after less than seven years, according to Army officials.

Leahy, whose discharge was upgraded from "dishonorable" to "bad conduct," could serve even less time if his attorney wins an appeal for an even greater reduction from the Army Clemency and Parole Board, based on an argument that the sergeant suffered from combat stress and fatigue and was following the lead of higher-ranking officers against suspected militia fighters who had attacked his troops. More