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Court-martial of Ft. Carson GI to go on

By Arthur Kane
Denver Post Staff Writer

A military judge refused Wednesday to dismiss the charges against a Fort Carson soldier accused of killing an Iraqi general during an interrogation.

Attorneys for Chief Warrant Officer Jefferson Williams argued last week that he is a victim of selective prosecution because two other soldiers in the case might not face charges and a prosecutor compared Williams to a Nazi.

Defense attorney William Cassara also charged that prosecutors told him Williams would go to trial no matter what evidence is uncovered during the Article 32 preliminary hearing.

Williams and Chief Warrant Officer Lewis Welshofer Jr. are charged with murder in the death of Iraqi Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed Mowhoush during a November 2003 interrogation in Qaim. Sgt. 1st Class William Sommer and Spec. Jerry Loper also were initially charged in the case, but those charges might be dropped and they may testify against Williams and Welshofer.

The judge, Col. Donna M. Wright, ruled that the prosecutor’s remark might have been “intemperate” but does not show a bias against Williams by top officers, and that there is no proof that Sommer and Loper were as involved as Williams and Welshofer in the death. “The decision of the government not to proceed, at least at this time, in the cases of Sommer and Loper does not reflect selective prosecution,” Wright wrote. “Assuming the remarks were indeed made by the Chief of Justice as to the government’s intentions of going to trial on murder charge regardless of the outcome of the Article 32 hearing … there is no showing that they represented the attitudes of the convening authority. “Wright did approve a motion to appoint Glen Spencer of the 297th military intelligence battalion based at Fort Gordon, Ga., to help deal with classified documents, and an unnamed forensic pathologist as members of the defense team. The pathologist will determine whether Mowhoush’s autopsy was conducted properly.

Cassara said he was happy they received two experts and said the dismissal motion might come up if there is an appeal. “While we’re glad judge concluded (the prosecutor’s) remarks were inappropriate, we disagree that they don’t make a difference,” he said.

Wright denied the defense an expert on interrogation techniques, saying the techniques are pretty straightforward. “Unlike the fields of forensic pathology and classification techniques, the field of interrogation is not an unduly technical field and the concepts should be understandable to the average layperson,” Wright wrote.

Welshofer is scheduled for court-martial in October, and Williams is scheduled for the following month.

Staff writer Arthur Kane can be reached at 303-820-1626 or akane@denverpost.com.

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