President Donald Trump fully pardoned a former United States Army lieutenant on Monday, who was convicted of killing a suspected al-Qaeda terrorist back in 2009.
Behenna was found guilty in 2009 of "unpremeditated murder in a combat zone" by a military court. However, he was paroled a few years later.
According to a White House correspondent, Trump found Michael Behenna "entirely deserving of a pardon" for the act that the lieutenant claimed was self defense.
Pres grants pardon to former US Army 1st Lt Michael Behenna, sentenced in 2009 to 25 yrs for murder of an Iraqi, but later paroled. WH cites senior military support for Behenna for his claim of self-defense and says @POTUS found Behenna "entirely deserving" of a pardon.
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) May 7, 2019
As noted in a report from The Washington Post, two soldiers and friends of Behenna were killed in a roadside explosion in 2008. An intelligence report later found that then-Iraqi operative Ali Mansur — the man Behenna would later kill — likely helped in organizing the explosion that murdered his battlefield compatriots.
After Mansur was interrogated and freed due to lack of conclusive evidence, Behenna sought to interrogate Mansur without authorization. "During the interrogation, Behenna shot Mr. Mansur in the head and chest," reported The New York Times. The lieutenant left the suspected terrorist’s body in the remote area without telling anyone; Iraqi police found a dead Mansur the following day.
According to Behenna, he acted in self-defense against Mansur when Mansur threw a chunk of concrete at the lieutenant and reached for his handgun.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckaby Sanders said, "After judgment, however, the U.S. Army's highest appellate court noted concern about how the trial court had handled Mr. Behenna's claim of self-defense."
She continued, "Additionally, the Army Clemency and Parole Board reduced his sentence to 15 years and paroled him as soon as he was eligible in 2014 — just 5 years into his sentence."
From the sound of it, Trump did the right thing! What do you think?