(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) - A Dearborn County soldier is undergoing military criminal proceedings after he allegedly murdered a defenseless Taliban leader.
The Los Angeles Times reports Pfc. David Lawrence allegedly shot Taliban commander Mullah Mohebullah in the face as he was held at a military base in Afghanistan Oct. 17. Lawrence was assigned to guarding the prisoner at the time of the shooting.
News of the slaying surfaced when Afghan President Hamid Karzai voiced his outrage towards what he called an assassination and urged the U.S. military to investigate.
The 20-year-old Hidden Valley native had his first hearing in the premeditated murder case Monday at Fort Carson, Colorado, where Lawrence was based as he served with the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division.
Lawrence’s parents, Brett and Wendy, still live in Hidden Valley. They say their son left Lawrenceburg High School at the age of 17.
“He met recruiters there through the high school, joined the National Guard, got his GED, then went active Army,” Wendy told Eagle 99.3 by e-mail. “He liked school, but wanted to make a career out of the Army, as he put it ‘better himself, and defend his country.’”
If convicted of premeditated murder, Lawrence could face the death penalty.
Defense attorneys argued Monday that Lawrence is not fit to stand trial. He was battling mental illness stemming from combat and had seen medical staff who gave him drugs to help cope with his depression and inability to sleep just days before the shooting.
Testimony in the Article 32 hearing will continue Tuesday.
The Lawrence parents have set up a fund to help pay for their son’s legal defense.
“The legal proceedings David is facing are very expensive, he has the best former JAG, now civilian attorney we could find,” Wendy said, adding costs could amount to over $100,000 before paying for travel, doctors, and psychiatric evaluations.
Donations to the Lawrence defense can be made at any United Community Bank Branch.
“We're asking the community to please support out son, he's never been in any kind of trouble, and he's not a murderer,” said Wendy.