Court-martial to begin in 2009 killings in Iraq

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JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. — Prosecutors are preparing to argue that an Army sergeant committed premeditated murder when he shot five fellow servicemen in Iraq.

The court-martial for Sgt. John Russell was to begin this morning at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Russell has already pleaded guilty to the killings but did not agree that the shootings were premeditated.

Russell went on a shooting spree at the Camp Liberty Combat Stress Center near Baghdad in May 2009. Two evaluations presented during a 2009 hearing said Russell suffered from severe depression with psychotic features and chronic post-traumatic stress disorder.

The shooting killed Navy Cmdr. Charles Springle of North Carolina, Pfc. Michael Edward Yates Jr. of Maryland, Dr. Matthew Houseal of Texas, Sgt. Christian Bueno-Galdos of New Jersey and Spc. Jacob Barton of Missouri. Russell is from Sherman, Texas.

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