Staff Sergeant Michael Hensley hails from Candler, and graduated from Enka High School in 1998. This past week, stories in the New York Times, the Washington Post and other major publications told how Hensley, when stationed in Iraq with a sniper unit, allegedly ordered the killing of an unarmed Iraqi man and then planted an AK-47 on the body. Hensley faces murder charges related to this and two other killings, and will be tried in a military court in Iraq in several weeks.
An Associated Press article quoted Sgt. Evan Vela, the U.S. soldier who pulled the trigger, describing to a court-martial what happened when an unarmed Iraqi man stumbled upon their snipers’ hideout and stood before them with his hands in the air:
“‘He [Hensley] asked me if I was ready. I had the pistol out. I heard the word shoot. I don’t remember pulling the trigger. It took me a second to realize that the shot came from the pistol in my hand,’ he said, crying.
Vela said that as the Iraqi man was convulsing on the ground, ‘Hensley kind of laughed about it and hit the guy on the throat and said shoot again.’
‘After he [the Iraqi man] was shot, Hensley pulled an AK-47 out of his rucksack and said, This is what we are going to say happened.’”
The Asheville-Citizen Times ran a story this weekend that provided more details about Hensley, including a quote from his mother, who said she believes he would not have killed without a legitimate reason.
— Rebecca Bowe, contributing editor