Parole for soldier convicted of killing al-Qaida operative

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A U.S. soldier convicted of killing an al-Qaida operative in Iraq in a trial marked by the prosecution’s decision to withhold exculpatory evidence has been granted parole.

The announcement comes from Scott and Vicki Behenna, who established the Defend Michael website on behalf of their son, Michael Behenna.

The parents said they had been notified that their son will be released from Ft. Leavenworth on March 14. He will have served five years of a 15-year sentence for the death of al-Qaida operative Ali Mansur in Iraq in 2008.

“With tears of joy in our eyes we are happy to tell all of you that Michael is coming home! … It has been, to say the least, quite a ride,” the parents said a statement posted online Wednesday.

“Michael signed up for the Army in order to serve his country and honor the innocent people killed on 9/11. As a lieutenant he led his men in the ‘Mad Dog’ 5th Platoon into combat in Iraq and with them bravely faced a determined and ruthless insurgency. Then his story took a bizarre turn when he was charged and later convicted of killing a known al-Qaida cell leader who was directly involved in an IED attack that killed two of his soldiers, Steven Christofferson and Adam Kohlhaas,” they wrote.



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