Guilty Verdict At JBLM In Trial Of Sgt. Accused of Baghdad Shooting Spree

By Tom Banse

A case that featured harrowing testimony of combat-related mental illness ended Monday with a guilty verdict. Army Sergeant John Russell was convicted for murdering five fellow servicemen at a military mental health clinic in Baghdad in 2009.

A military judge found the 48-year-old Texas native guilty of premeditated murder. A public affairs spokesman at the joint base says Sergeant Russell showed no visible reaction. 

The shooting spree in Baghdad was the worst case of violence committed by a U.S. soldier against fellow American troops during the war in Iraq. Russell initially faced the death penalty. But that possibility was removed as part of a deal to plead guilty. 

The case was tried in western Washington because Russell was temporarily assigned while in Iraq to a Lewis-McChord based combat engineering unit. The convicted sergeant now faces a sentence of life in prison.

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