Soldier found not guilty in shooting death of Iraq contractor
A U.S. soldier has been found not guilty by reason of lack of mental responsibility in the shooting death of a Hungarian civilian contractor in Iraq, military officials at Fort Hood said in a statement released Saturday.
Pfc. Carl T. Stovall had pleaded not guilty in the March 2009 killing of Hungarian laborer Tibor Bogdan as Bogdan was digging a hole near Camp Taji, north of Baghdad.
The shooting came less than a month into Stovall's third deployment. He chose to be tried by a military judge at Ft. Hood in Texas, instead of by a jury, and testimony was heard last week. Stovall had faced a maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole.
In a statement Saturday, officials at the base said the court ordered Stovall to receive a psychiatric/psychological evaluation before a post-trial hearing scheduled for Nov. 10.
The soldier had allegedly once told investigators he had believed that Bogdan, who worked for a contractor specializing in trash and waste removal, was a terrorist planting a roadside bomb, according to the Associated Press. However, prosecutors also told the Associated Press that Stovall, now 28, has changed his story multiple times and, at one point, allegedly denied any involvement.
An Army psychiatrist, Col. David M. Benedek, testified Wednesday at the Ft. Hood court-martial that Stovall is a paranoid schizophrenic and “not mentally responsible” for the close-range shooting, the AP reported. Further, several healthcare professionals testified last week that they'd diagnosed Stovall with a psychosis in the time before, during and after the deployment, Central Texas-based KCEN-TV reported.
Stovall has a history of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, in addition to drug and alcohol abuse. Benedek told the AP that the Georgia native also suffered a brain injury in a car accident in high school.
Stovall had been deployed with the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division.
--Molly Hennessy-Fiske in Houston
Photo: After a court-martial last week, Pfc. Carl T. Stovall was found not guilty by reason of lack of mental responsibility in the fatal 2009 shooting of a civilian contractor in Iraq. Credit: U.S. Army