WASHINGTON, June 25, 2006 – Two Pennsylvania National Guard soldiers have been charged in connection with the death of an Iraqi citizen, U.S. officials announced today. Spec. Nathan B. Lynn is charged with one count of voluntary manslaughter and a count of obstructing justice involving the Feb. 15 death of an unarmed male Iraqi. Lynn allegedly shot the man during a security sweep his unit was conducting near Baghdad.
Sgt. Milton Ortiz Jr. is also charged with obstructing justice as part of the Feb. 15 shooting. Ortiz is also charged with one count of assault and one count of communicating a threat on March 8 during a separate incident where he allegedly placed an unloaded weapon to the head of an Iraqi male and told him he was going to be sent to prison. Lynn and Ortiz are assigned to the 1st Battalion, 109th Infantry (Mechanized) of the Pennsylvania National Guard.
They've been transferred to a military base in Baghdad and are awaiting an Article 32 hearing to see if sufficient evidence exists for a trial. Both soldiers are presumed innocent until proven guilty, officials emphasized. Another soldier believed to have placed an AK-47 assault rifle near the mortally wounded Iraqi during the Feb. 15 incident has since left Iraq and was demobilized before criminal proceedings were initiated.