According to an Army statement issued Friday, Sgt. John Russell faces murder charges in connection with May 2009 killings. Russell is accused of brutally murdering five people; four soldiers and one Navy officer. The killings were reported from an Iraqi mental health clinic and if the Sergeant is convicted; he could be facing death penalty.
As mentioned above, the charges filed against John Russell relate to the killings of fellow soldiers, were referred Wednesday but announced Friday. As per the statement from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, John faces various counts charges including premeditated murder (5 charges), aggravated assault (1 count) and one of count of attempted murder.
An investigation led the detectives into the infamous shooting spree, taking place at Baghdad, Iraq-based Camp Liberty Combat Stress Centre leaving the above mentioned five people dead. No confirmed date for the court-martial has yet been announced while the accused sergeant is being held at the base, located nearly 40 miles south of Seattle. The 47-year-old sergeant comes from Sherman (Texas), informed Lt. Col. Gary Dangerfield.
It was considered one of the worst and bad examples of a soldier killing other soldier(s) in war stricken Iraq region. The shooting had raised several questions over soldiers’ mental health issues; caused by forced repeated tours of duty. It was in August 2009 when a hearing on possible charge(s) was held while at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
According to two numbers evaluations presented during that hearing, Sergeant Russell was found suffering from severe depression along with psychotic features. Further, he had chronic post-traumatic stress disorder. In 2009, members of Russell’s unit testified that when the soldier was close to his third tour; his behaviour began to change. Paranoid with the thought that his career was on the stake at the hands of his unit; he launched attack on fellow soldiers, on May 11, 2009.
Witnesses revealed that Russell would be seen crying and even saying he would hurt himself; just days before the fatal shooting. During his visit back to the Camp Liberty clinic Russell reportedly requested military police; to lock him up so he wouldn't do anything wrong; hurt himself or others. However, after leaving the clinic, Russell went to unit headquarters, took a rifle and returned to clinic; to open fire and killing fellow soldiers.
Victims were identified as Charles Springle the 52-year-old Navy Commander, 19-year-old Michael Edward Yates Jr., Sergeant Christian E. Bueno-Galdos (25), Dr. Matthew Houseal and 20-year-old Jacob D. Barton.