G.I. Convicted In Grenade Attack

Sgt. Hasan Akbar, center, is led from the Staff Judge Advocate Building during his court-martial at Fort Bragg, N.C. Tuesday, April 12, 2005. Akbar, a soldier with the 101st Airborne Division is charged in the grenade attack that killed two U.S. officers and wounded 14 other soldiers March 23, 2003 at Camp Pennsylvania, Kuwait. Akbar is chargerd with two counts of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted first-degree murder and faces a possible death sentence
An Army sergeant was convicted Thursday by a military jury of premeditated murder and attempted murder in a grenade and rifle attack that killed two of his comrades and wounded 14 others in Kuwait during the opening days of the Iraq war.

Hasan Akbar, 34, now faces a possible death penalty, which the 15-member jury will consider at a hearing that begins Monday.

Prosecutors say Hasan Akbar, 33, told investigators he launched the attack because he was concerned U.S. troops would kill fellow Muslims in Iraq. They said he coolly carried out the attack to achieve "maximum carnage" on his comrades in the 101st Airborne Division.

The verdict came after 2½ hours of deliberations following seven days of testimony in a court-martial — the first time since the Vietnam era that an American has been prosecuted on charges of murdering a fellow soldier during wartime.

Akbar stood at attention as the verdict was read by the colonel who headed the jury panel, chewing his lip but giving no other outward sign of emotion. Defense attorneys acknowledged that Akbar carried out the attack, but argued he was too mentally ill to have premeditated it and was fueled by emotion.