WASHINGTON, June 20, 2006 – Military officials have charged three soldiers in connection with the deaths of three detainees during a May 9 operation near Thar Thar Canal in Iraq's Salah ad Din province. Charged with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy, communicating a threat and obstructing justice are Staff Sgt. Raymond L. Girouard, Spc. William B. Hunsaker and Pfc. Corey R. Clagett. All three are assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.
A statement released yesterday by Multinational Force Iraq officials said the soldiers' unit commander ordered an inquiry to determine the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the three detainees on the day the alleged murders occurred. A Criminal Investigation Command investigation was initiated on May 17 and is ongoing, officials said. The soldiers are in pretrial confinement awaiting an Article 32 hearing - the military justice system's equivalent to a grand jury hearing -- to determine if sufficient evidence exists for the case to be referred to court-martial.