Thursday, February 26, 2009

Widows Stunned at Prosecution, Declined Plea Offer in Fragging Case

Widows Stunned at Prosecution…
Declined Plea Offer in Fragging Case
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Official Portrait of LTG John R. Vines
US Army file Photo
First of all I want to let you know how this case came to my attention.
It was from a concerned young lady named Cathy Hughes who sent me the following email…
I am writing to comment on your blog of January 13, 2006, and posted as below:

"Now how can you not help but to like this guy-- Army Lt. General John
R. Vines, Commanding General of Multinational Corps Iraq and the 18th
Airborne Corps??? Today when he was asked by a reporter about the
whereabouts of the enemy forces engaged during last year's fighting in
Anbar province...
General Vines calmly responded: "Many of them are dead."
Keep after them General... Keep after them......

What you may or may not know is that on April 3, 2006, not even six
months after this blog, Army Lt. General John R. Vines rejected the
guilty plea of Staff Sgt Alberto Martinez in the fragging deaths of Lt
Louis Allen and Captain Phillip Esposito, who were killed in Iraq on
June 7, 2005. After three and a half years of postponements and other
issues, Staff Sgt Alberto Martinez was aquitted of all charges. He
was honorably discharged by the Army and now lives as a free man, I am
sure with all his benefits in place. Lt Louis Allen and Captain
Phillip Esposito left many wives, children, family and friends that
are devistated by this outcome. The death certificates of these fine
men list their deaths in the Non-Hostile category, which makes them
ineligible for the Purple Heart. In addition, Staff Sgt Alberto
Martinez repeatedly had threatened Captain Esposito before this
current crime was committed, and no mention of this guilty plea was
ever mentioned at trial. In fact, the guilty plea offer was signed by
Maj. Marc Cipriano and Maj. E. John Gregory, the lawyers for the
Martinez. An article in the New York Times noted Army regulations
permit them to sign such a plea offer only if they believe the client
committed the crime.

The families deserve answers in this case. Lt. Allen and Captain
Esposito are not collateral damage. They are not expendable. Neither
is anyone else serving our country with honor. They deserve protection
from those in the ranks who are devoid of such. I hope and pray that
you review your comments and retract them for they condone practices
that will keep all of our military in danger.


Catherine Hughes

I replied with the following email…
Hello, Cathy…

Thanks for your letter.

Back in 2006, my main and only point in my post was to tell the troops and Lt. General John R. Vines, ‘Job well done in taking the fight to our enemies. How can you not like this guy for that’.

The things you bring up were not in the mix, as far as I knew… and until your letter… this is the first I have ever heard of it.

From everything I’ve heard in the past about Lt. General John R. Vines, he has had nothing but a reputable reputation. But no one is perfect and mistakes are made by everyone. Some much bigger than others…

I can not and will not retract my statements from my 2006 posting. I stand behind them and the troops 1000%. But I will check into the matter you have brought to me and will comment accordingly in a new, future Post.

Bottom line… If the General has done wrong… so be it. I will gladly help you in bringing out the facts.

Thanks again…

After I received Cathy’s email the other day, I asked a few Blogging friends about it and I thank them again for their help in this matter. And as I told Cathy... I would check into the facts in this case... and the following is all I could come up with. .
* had this report on their website Feb. 22nd… It goes in part like this. The offer was rejected by Lt. Gen. John R. Vines, now retired… Maj. John Benson, a prosecutor in the case who was not involved in the decision to reject the plea offer, says there was concern within the Army that Martinez might have been eligible for parole after 10 years despite having acknowledged murdering two officers…
Read this short report at link below…
Prosecution declined plea offer in 'fragging' case
* had this report on Feb. 22nd… The widows of two Army officers killed in Iraq more than three years ago say they were not informed that the soldier acquitted in the killing of their husbands had made an earlier offer to plead guilty… Staff Sgt. Alberto Martinez was found not guilty Dec. 4 of two charges of premeditated murder by a military jury after a six-week trial at Fort Bragg, N.C. He was accused of setting off a claymore mine and grenades that killed Capt. Phillip Esposito, 30, of Suffern and 1st Lt. Louis Allen of Milford, Pa., in Tikrit in June 2005…
Read the full report at link below…
Widows stunned at offer of guilty plea in fragging case
* Here's a few more articles I found on this matter by way of Google Search…
> 1st Lt. Lou Allen's kin react to report on fragging case
> Army said no to guilty plea
Cleared soldier's guilty plea was rejected
> After Guilty Plea Offer, G.I. Cleared of Iraq Deaths
Hopefully by putting this Post up today, some of you will be able to run down some more info for us.
Thanks to all and Kathy too…

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