Soldier from Candler to be tried for murder of unarmed Iraqi civilians

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

SHARE

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

2 thoughts on “Soldier from Candler to be tried for murder of unarmed Iraqi civilians

  1. chalres

    Why would an American soldier have a Russian-issued Ak-47 in his rucksack?

  2. Rob Close

    well, he planted it as fake evidence, supposedly. so if it’s true, i’d assume that’s why he had it to begin with. i bet we’re confiscating enough of them that they are readily available to cover one’s ass.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.