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Treating our Enemies Better Than Our Own Soldiers

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The Testimony The Prosecutors Didn’t Let The Jury Hear (From Their Own Expert Witness)

MILITARY PROSECUTORS WITHHOLD EVIDENCE; ARMY RANGER GOES TO PRISON FOR 25 YEARS (recently reduced to 15 years) FOR SHOOTING AL QAEDA OPERATIVE

The Story

Michael Behenna

Michael Behenna

On March 20th, 2009, Army Ranger 1st Lieutenant Michael Behenna was sentenced to 25 years in prison for killing Ali Mansur, a known Al Qaeda operative while serving in Iraq.  Mansur was known to be a member of an Al Qaeda cell operating in the lieutenant’s area of operation and was suspected to have organized an attack on Lt. Behenna’s platoon in April 2008 which killed two U.S. soldiers and injured two more. Army intelligence ordered the release of Mansur and Lt. Behenna was ordered to return the terrorist to his home.

During the return of Mansur, Lt. Behenna again questioned the Al Qaeda member for information about other members of the terrorist cell, and financial supporters. During this interrogation, Mansur attacked Lt. Behenna, who killed the terrorist in self-defense. The government subsequently prosecuted Lt. Behenna for premeditated murder.

Not only is this a miscarriage of justice on the behalf of Lt. Behenna, who was acting to prevent further loss of life in his platoon, it is demoralizing to the U.S. troops who continue to fight on behalf of the freedom and security of our nation. Whether it is U.S. border patrol agents, members of the armed forces, or FBI agents, no individual who is serving on the frontlines in the War on Terror should be so blatantly mistreated.

We urgently need your help to correct this terrible wrong against a loyal and faithful soldier. Please contact your congressman and ask them to intervene on behalf of 1LT Behenna. Below is a brief recap of the relevant aspects of Lt. Behenna’s case.

  • September 2007: 1st Lieutenant Michael Behenna deployed to Iraq for his first combat experience
  • April 21, 2008: Lt. Behenna’s platoon was attacked by Al Qaeda operatives. The attack resulted in death of two of Lt. Behenna’s platoon members, two Iraqi citizens, and wounded two additional soldiers under Lt. Behenna’s command.
  • May 5, 2008: Known terrorist Ali Mansur was detained at his home for suspected involvement in the attack on Lt. Behenna’s platoon
  • May 16, 2008: Army Intelligence orders the release of Mansur
  • Lt. Behenna, who lost two members of his platoon just weeks earlier, was ordered to transport Mansur back to his home
  • Lt. Behenna attempts a final interrogation of Mansur prior to his release
  • During the interrogation, Behenna is attacked by Mansur and is forced to defend himself. During the altercation, the terrorist is killed.
  • Lt. Behenna failed to properly report the incident
  • July 2008: The U.S. Army charges Lt. Behenna with premeditated murder for the death of Al Qaeda operative and terrorist Ali Mansur.
  • February 23, 2009: Lt. Behenna’s trial begins
  • Government and defense experts agree on the trajectory of the bullets killing Mansur
  • Prosecution expert Dr. Herbert MacDonnell initiated contact with defense attorneys explaining his agreement with the testimony of Lt. Behenna and his presentation to prosecutors supporting Lt. Behenna’s version of events.
  • Dr. MacDonnell is not called to testify in the case and instead is sent home.  Just before leaving the courthouse he picks up his coat from the prosecution room and says to the three prosecutors (Megan Poirier, Jason Elbert, and Erwin Roberts), ‘The explanation that Lt Behenna just testified to was the exact same scenario I told you yesterday.  Lt Behenna is telling the truth.’
  • Jack Zimmermann, defense counsel, asks prosecutors if they have any exculpatory evidence that should be provided to the defense (referring to Dr. MacDonnell’s demonstration). Prosecutors deny having any such evidence despite having been told by their own expert witness that Lt Behenna’s explanation was the only logical explanation.
  • Prosecutors withholding of this evidence allowed them to argue that Lt. Behenna executed Ali Mansur while seated when the forensic experts, including Dr. MacDonnell, agree that Ali was standing with his arms outstretched when shot
  • Lt. Behenna is convicted of unpremeditated murder and assault by a military panel of seven officers, none of whom had combat experience.
  • Dr. MacDonnell contacts prosecution requesting that the information provided in his demonstration be given to the defense.
  • Prosecutors provide such information after a verdict was rendered, but prior to sentencing.
  • At the request of the presiding judge, Dr. MacDonnell provides his information to the court via telephone
  • The judge orders both sides in the case to file briefs relating to a possible mistrial
  • After reading the briefs the judge set an additional hearing and ordered additional briefs, including one from the defense requesting a new trial.
  • On March 20, the judge denied defense motions to declare a mistrial and to order a new trial
  • Lt. Behenna was paraded in handcuffs through the Nashville airport, the Milwaukee airport, and the Kansas City airport enroute to Fort Leavenworth Prison
  • Lt. Behenna’s attorneys are appealing the verdict
  • Lt. Behenna is currently serving a 15-year sentence  (the 25 year sentence was reduced five years by the commanding general of 101st Airborne and reduced another five years by the Army Clemency Board.  The earliest he would be eligible for parole is after serving a third of his sentence.  Without parole or a new trial Lt. Behenna will get out of prison for the shooting an Al Qaeda terrorist in self defense when he is 40 years old.

1st Lieutenant Michael Behenna was an excellent officer. He received his call to serve his country while attending the University of Central Oklahoma. He is from a family of public servants, his mother being an Assistant United States Attorney and his father a retired Special Agent with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. He has served the Army and the United States with honor and dignity. To sacrifice the life of this Oklahoma soldier over the death of a known terrorist, is a breech of faith with all who are serving our country.

We’ll send you this DefendMichael.com wristband with any donation of $20 or more.

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Support Michael

We need your support now more than ever.  The government has unlimited resources and has spent accordingly.  1LT Behenna and his family hired civilian counsel,  Houston lawyers Jack B. Zimmermann and Kyle R. Sampson, at their own expense.   This Legal Defense Fund has been established for the sole purpose of helping ensure that 1LT Behenna has meaningful access to experienced legal defense counsel in the military prosecution.  The value of having experience in a case like this became very obvious when the issue of evidence withheld by the prosecution was discovered.  All donations to this Fund will be used exclusively for attorney fees and expenses associated with this legal defense and will be maintained in an independently administered trust account.  Funds will not be distributed directly to 1LT Behenna.

If you are able to help defray these costs, please send contributions to the:

1LT Michael Behenna Legal Defense Fund
c/o Jack Dawson, co-trustee
100 Park Avenue, Second Floor
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73102-8099

or Rachel Lawrence Mor, co-trustee
3037 N.W. 63rd Street, Suite 251
Oklahoma City Oklahoma 73116

Please read our Legal Disclosure before donating. Thank you for assisting Lt. Michael Behenna.

Responses

  1. please give me a email back i wouldlike to talk and also help michael also im a marine just got out i live in oklahoma i will donate money please email me soon i wanna help a brother in arms i wouldlove to visti him to

  2. Hey.. My name is Evan and i have just recently signed with the US Army and have been inspired to become a Ranger and help defend the Freedom that Michael was defending and recently unfaily prosicuted….. My freinds and i are are attempting to hold a fundraiser to put twoards any court chargers and anything we can do to help support Michael and his Family. I was wondering where all the earnings can be sent to help support the great cause of freeing an american hero. please help me with any info that can help make this possible…
    Thanks,
    Evan

  3. YALL TURN HIM LOOSE,THISIS RIDICULOUS man defending our freedoms and these jackasses lock him up what kind freakin people r they give a break godbless u son will sign .

  4. Michael, do not give up, you have your family’s love and love from strangers like me. My Son is in the Army, deployed. I cannot imagine this happening to any Soldier, who serves his Country. You have the right to your freedom. I will be donating each month and following your case. As an attorney, retired, I realize how miscarriages of justice have and do occur. Regardless, there should be special treatment, privacy, compassion and honor shown to any Warrior, regardless of the circumstances, you laid your life down for your Country. We will support you and hope to lift your spirits up. Your family is invited to email me as well.

  5. The most crucial element is that during a time of war no soldier should ever be in this position. 1LT Michael Behenna did not become a leader of men and women in our Armed Forces to conduct his business in a reckless manner. In war there are casualties on each side. This new system of trying our soldiers is the beginning of the end of the United States of America’s great military strength. God Bless 1LT Behenna.

  6. Even if it wasn’t self defense he doesn’t deserve to be there. That terrorist deserved to die, perhaps not as fast as he did but that’s over.

    Behenna is a badass soldier in my book for eliminating a piece of scum from this planet. The government brass can kiss my ass like the cowards they are.

  7. unbelievable,i first heard this on michael savage and was immediately sickened!political correctness is weakening our military,our daily lives,until were a laughing stock to the enemy.they know that they can do what they like with little reprimand,the govt and leaders in this country should be ashamed of themselves and the image we portray,no wonder,other countrys make bold statements about us,they know that they can kick the big goofy giant around.if this were another era,we wouldnt even be reading this..im praying for michaels release and return,something that shouldnt have even happened in a million years.the dirtbag he shot would have killed hundreds more,we need to stand against this type of behavior and let our men and women in the military do their jobs to the UTMOST of its ability.

  8. We as a Nation must support these men and women who are children themselves defending our country and themselves .They depend on us to be there for them when they need us and it is now this man needs us he should not be nor should of been behind bars for defending himself…..from a known killer let alone in defense of his own life.

    I with every cell of my being OBJECT to his treatment and demand his release and to honor him for he is someone who has laid down his life for all of us.

    Respectfully,

    Constance Holbert
    Dayton,Ohio USA

  9. To Who This May Concern,

    PLEASE RELEASE 1Lt. Michael Behenna.

    He SHOULD NOT BE IN JAIL. He’s has a HONORED RECORD AS AN AMERICAN SOLDIER. HE HAS SERVED HIS COUNTRY…..AMERICA WITH HONOR.

    HE SHOOT AN AL QEADA Terrorist in self-defense.

    YOU HAVE DISGRACED HIM BY PUTTING HIM IN JAIL. SELF DEFENSE IS NOT A CRIME IN AMERICAN…………PLEASE RELEASE HIM NOW.

    STOP THE CORRUPTION OF INNOCENT SOLDIERS WHO FOUGHT FOR OUR FREEDOM.

    SINCERELY,
    GLORIA HELMAN
    CLASSMOM2@AOL.COM

  10. I would LOVE to know what is the status of all this! He should NOT even BE THERE! Someone in this Country has to STAND UP and say:” ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!” We as Americans can no LONGER put up with the downright ATROCITY’S against our fighting men and women PERIOD! If we need to March on Washington SO BE IT! I will be there WILL ALL OF YOU! Bring this Man back HOME and let him live the American Dream! Not the Communist Dreams of Today!


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