Accused Iraq Clinic Shooter Faces Death Penalty Trial At JBLM

May 18, 2012

Joint Base Lewis-McChord is at the center of yet another high-profile murder case. The Army announced Friday that Sgt. John Russell will face trial at Lewis-McChord in connection with a 2009 killing spree in Iraq.

Sgt. Russell was based in Germany, but attached to a Lewis-McChord unit while deployed. He’s charged with five counts of premeditated murder and one count each of attempted murder and aggravated assault. The charges stem from a shooting rampage on May 11, 2009 at the Camp Liberty Combat Stress Center in Iraq. Five Americans were killed including a Navy commander, an Army psychiatrist and three soldiers. Russell was on his third tour to Iraq and had just had an angry confrontation with his psychiatrist when he allegedly stormed into the mental health center and opened fire with a stolen rifle. The incident has been described as the deadliest case of soldier-on-soldier violence during the war in Iraq. A trial date has not been scheduled. If convicted, Russell could face the death penalty. He’s been held at Joint Base Lewis-McChord since January of this year.

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