2 American soldiers charged with premeditated murder of 3 Iraqis

Staff Report
The Associated Press

BAGHDAD (AP) - Two American soldiers have been charged with premeditated murder for allegedly killing three Iraqis and planting weapons to portray them as combatants.

The U.S. military says today one of those soldier is Specialist Jorge G. Sandoval, of Laredo. The other is Staff Sargeant Michael A. Hensley, from Candler, North Carolina.

Military officials say the three Iraqis were killed in separate incidents between April and June near Iskandariyah, 30 miles south of Baghdad.

No further details on the killings or the victims were given.

Sandoval's mother, Alicia Sandoval, said her 22-year-old son was on a two-week leave visiting his family when authorities came and asked to speak to him. They said he would be back shortly, but she heard nothing since that Tuesday. She had no idea where he was taken until an Associated Press reporter called.

Iraqis often accuse American soldiers of unnecessary killings or abuse. The war has seen U.S. service members face prosecution in several high-profile incidents, including abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison, the killings of 24 civilians by Marines in Haditha and the rape and killing of a 14-year-old girl and the slaying of her family south of Baghdad.