First Lt. Clint Lorance (Defendoursoldier.com)
FORT BRAGG, N.C. — A jury at Fort Bragg has found an 82nd Airborne Division lieutenant guilty of two counts of murder in connection with a series of shootings in Afghanistan.
1st Lt. Clint Lorance was found guilty by the jury Thursday. He was found not guilty of making a false official statement.
According to a New York Times report, Lorance was sentenced to 20 years in prison, forfeiture of pay and dismissal from the military.
Prosecutors said Lorance ordered his men to open fire immediately in violation of the military’s rules of engagement, which requires soldiers to hold fire unless they have evidence of hostile action or hostile intent. They said three men on a motorcycle approached the patrol in July 2012. Two were killed and the third ran away.
The Times called Lorance’s case “remarkable because he is only the second Army officer charged with murder in a battlefield death during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Attorneys for Lorance said he was trying to protect his unit. His defense is laid out on a website called Defend our Soldier.
According the the Times’ report, Lorance joined the Army on his 18th birthday and deployed to South Korea and Iraq as an enlisted soldier. He became the first in his family to graduate from college and was deployed to Afghanistan in March 2012 as an officer, the paper reported.