Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Monday, July 13, 2009
A U.S. soldier who the military says fatally shot a fellow soldier in Iraq by accident has been sentenced to three years’ confinement but will serve 30 months.
On July 11, Sgt. Miguel A. Vegaquinones also received a reduction in rank to private and a dishonorable discharge in the death of Pfc. Sean McCune, according to a news release issued by Multi-National Corps—Iraq.
Vegaquinones negligently fired a round from his weapon on Jan. 11 in Samarra after completing guard duty, officials say.
He pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter. Under a pre-trial agreement, his sentence was limited to 30 months’ confinement and a charge of making a false official statement was dismissed.
Involuntary manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of 10 years’ confinement, and making a false official statement, up to five years.
McCune had been in Iraq for about a month, officials say.
Both Vegaquinones and McCune were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. But Vegaquinones was temporarily attached to the brigade’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company pending the outcome of the case.
The Army Court of Criminal Appeals automatically reviews all cases in which U.S. Army soldiers are sentenced to confinement of more than a year.
--submitted by Patti Woodard