A San Diego-based U.S. Navy SEAL will face court-martial charges including premeditated murder in connection with the 2017 death of an ISIS fighter in Iraq, it was reported Thursday.
At an Article 32 hearing in November, U.S. Navy prosecutors at Naval Base San Diego accused Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher of premeditated murder in the May 2017 stabbing death of an injured ISIS fighter in Mosul, Iraq who they estimate was about 15 years old, according to NBC7.
Gallagher was arrested last Sept. 11 and is being held at the Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.
Gallagher also is accused of shooting Iraqi civilians, NBC7 said.
Prosecutors presented evidence at the November hearing, including cell phone photos that show Gallagher holding up the head of the deceased fighter during a reenlistment ceremony.
Prosecutors also alleged that Gallagher tried to bribe fellow SEALs to prevent them from talking about the incident to Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigators.
On Oct. 18, authorities charged a second San Diego-based U.S. Navy SEAL in connection with the ongoing NCIS probe, the Navy Times reported.
Lt. Jacob Portier also underwent an Article 32 hearing for his alleged role in helping cover up Gallagher’s crimes.
Portier, accused of dereliction of duty, was Gallagher’s platoon leader during the deployment and told investigators he learned about the alleged war crimes only after he was told about them by a lead petty officer, the Navy Times said.
Gallagher, who has served 19 years in the U.S. Navy, will be arraigned at Naval Base San Diego on Friday.
— City News Service