Source AP ©

Court finds airman guilty of manslaughter

An american airman pleaded guilty Monday to involuntary manslaughter for shooting another airman in the chest with a pistol in the Iraq living quarters they shared.

Air Force prosecutors dropped charges of murder and assault against Senior Airman Kyle J. Dalton in exchange for his guilty plea. Dalton also pleaded guilty to failing to obey a lawful regulation.

Airman 1st Class Carl J. Ware Jr. had been in Iraq for one month when he was killed by a single gunshot wound. Few details have emerged about the July 1 shooting, but Ware was off-duty at Camp Bucca, a prison in southern Iraq, and in his quarters at about 3 p.m. when he was killed.

Dalton faces a maximum punishment of 12 years in prison, a dishonorable discharge and forfeiture of all pay and allowances, as well as reduction in rank. The sentencing phase was under way Monday.

A murder conviction carried a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Ware and Dalton were stationed at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii and were part of the 886th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron.

Dalton told the court Monday he did not realize the pistol was loaded when he pointed it at Ware and pulled the trigger.

At first, he froze, Dalton said. "Then I ran to Airman Ware's side, grabbed onto him and said that I was sorry and not to die on me."

The court-martial was being held at Langley Air Force Base.

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