General Hunter: Behenna deserves his freedom back
OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Mike Hunter has sent a letter to President Donald Trump, expressing his support for a pardon of former U.S. Army 1st Lt. Michael Behenna.
In 2009, Behenna was convicted of unpremeditated murder in a combat zone after killing a suspected Al Qaeda terrorist in Iraq, while attempting to find individuals responsible for an IED that took the lives of two men in his unit. In 2014, he was granted parole by the U.S. Army Clemency and Parole Board, after serving five years of his 15-year sentence at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
Attorney General Hunter said without a pardon, Behenna’s punishment will continue outside of prison indefinitely.
“Michael Behenna was a courageous soldier, a great leader and does not deserve to be labeled a convicted felon for the rest of his life,” Attorney General Hunter said. “He has more than paid for the crimes he was convicted of while bravely serving our country in combat. He and his family have gone through enough. I encourage President Trump to act quickly and compassionately by pardoning Behenna, to give him back the freedoms he deserves.”
In the letter, Attorney General Hunter outlines three factors as to why a pardon is appropriate.
He points specifically to critical errors made during the original court-martial that wrongly affected Behenna’s self-defense arguments; the events taking place during wartime, where Behenna was risking his life to serve the country and attempting to track down terrorists; and Behenna serving his time as a model inmate, which led to his parole at the earliest date possible.
Attorney General Hunter ends the letter encouraging the president to look closely at the case and ask: “Does this situation – with incorrect jury instructions on a key issue and unlawfully withheld evidence – really display the type of justice we believe is appropriate for an otherwise outstanding soldier, who was attempting to protect his country and fellow soldiers from terror attacks?”
To read Attorney General Hunter's letter, click here.
Related: Local news coverage:
The Oklahoman: http://bit.ly/2nVqvsh
News 9: http://bit.ly/2nSINdQ