Mex­ico says its troops killed US man

The Pak Banker - - 6i Nternational -

MEX­ICO CITY: Joseph Proc­tor told his girl­friend he was pop­ping out to the con­ve­nience store in the quiet Mex­i­can beach town where the cou­ple had just moved, in­tend­ing to start a new life.

The next morn­ing, the 32year-old New York na­tive was dead in­side his crashed van on a road out­side Aca­pulco. He had mul­ti­ple bul­let wounds. An AR15 ri­fle lay in his hands.

His dis­traught girl­friend, Lil­iana Gil Var­gas, was sum­moned to po­lice head­quar­ters, where she was told Proc­tor had died in a gun­bat­tle with an army pa­trol. They claimed Proc­tor - whose green van had a for-sale sign and his cell phone num­ber spray-painted on the win­dows - had at­tacked the troops. They showed her the gun.

His mother, Donna Proc­tor, dev­as­tated and in­cred­u­lous, has been fight­ing through Mex­ico's se­cre­tive mil­i­tary jus­tice sys­tem ever since to learn what re­ally hap­pened on the night of Aug. 22.

It took weeks of pres­sur­ing U.S. di­plo­mats and con­gress­men for help, but she fi­nally got an an­swer, which she shared with The As­so­ci­ated Press.

Three sol­diers have been charged with killing her son. Two have been charged with plant­ing the as­sault ri­fle in his hands and claim­ing falsely that he fired first, ac­cord­ing to a Mex­i­can De­fense Depart­ment doc­u­ment sent to her through the U.S. Em­bassy in Mex­ico City.

It is at least the third case this year in which sol­diers, locked in a bru­tal bat­tle with drug car­tels, have been ac­cused of killing in­no­cent civil­ians and fak­ing ev­i­dence in cover-ups.

Such scan­dals are driv­ing calls for civil­ian in­ves­ti­ga­tors to take over cases that are al­most ex­clu­sively han­dled by mil­i­tary pros­e­cu­tors and judges who rarely con­vict one of their own.

"I hate the fact that he died alone and in pain an in such an un­just way," Donna Proc­tor, a Queens court bailiff, said in a tele­phone in­ter­view with the AP. "I want him to be re­mem­bered as a hard­work­ing per­son. He would never pick up a gun and shoot some­one." -Ap

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