PFC David Lawrence
(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) - An Army private from Dearborn County will plead guilty to murder for shooting a prisoner of war in Afghanistan.
PFC David Lawrence, 20, reached a plea deal with military prosecutors late last week.
Lawrence’s court martial was set to begin on Wednesday in Fort Carson, Colorado. If convicted in the military equivalent of a trial, Lawrence faced a minimum sentence of life in prison and possible death.
The plea will spare Lawrence his life and could even bring about a much shorter sentence which will be revealed in court proceedings later this week according to the Associated Press.
Lawrence’s parents, Brett and Wendy Lawrence, live in Hidden Valley. David was a student at Lawrenceburg High School before enlisting with the Army in 2007.
Lawrence was accused of killing Mullah Mohebullah in October when the suspected Taliban member was being held by the U.S. Army at an outpost in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. Lawrence was supposed to be guarding Mohebullah’s cell when he shot the prisoner in the face.
The murder ignited an outcry from Afghan President Hamid Karzai, straining already tense political ties between the country and the U.S.
Despite the recognition by military psychologists that Lawrence was schizophrenic and suffered from post traumatic stress disorder at the time of the shooting.
After several members of his unit had died in an attack, he had gone to a combat stress clinic just days before the murder. Despite the visit with doctors, Lawrenceburg was placed back with his unit.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Lawrence’s attorney, former JAG James Culp, had planned to argue during the trial that Lawrence was not guilty by reason of insanity.