Murder of 3 Americans brings life for soldier
AMMAN, Jordan – A Jordanian soldier was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison Monday for the deaths of three U.S. soldiers whom he shot at an air base in November.
The soldier, 1st Sgt. Ma’arik al-Tawayha, 39, had pleaded not guilty, saying that he opened fire because the Americans had failed to stop their car as they approached the gate of the air base, and that he thought the base was under attack. “I was doing my job,” he said as he was led from the courtroom.
Although Jordanian officials initially believed his account – angering their U.S. counterparts – they later backed away from it, and charged al-Tawayha with premeditated murder.
The trial, which lasted more than a month, did not establish a motive for the killings, but Jordanian officials said there was no evidence that al-Tawayha had ties to extremist groups.
The FBI has opened an investigation into the case, as is common in matters that potentially involve terrorism.
The victims – Staff Sgt. Matthew C. Lewellen, 27, of Kirksville, Mo.; Staff Sgt. Kevin J. McEnroe, 30, of Tucson, Ariz.; and Staff Sgt. James F. Moriarty, 27, of Kerrville, Texas – were killed shortly before noon Nov. 4.
– New York Times