Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher found not guilty of murdering ISIS fighter

Navy SEAL cleared of murdering ISIS fighter

San Diego — A decorated Navy SEAL was found not guilty of committing murder in Iraq. A jury did convict Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher of posing for photographs with a dead war casualty. 

Gallagher learned his fate after six hours of deliberation by a seven person military jury. The trial revealed a SEAL team divided with a dozen members testifying.

Seven SEALs, including two who said they witnessed the act, accused Gallagher of repeatedly stabbing an injured teenage ISIS fighter in the neck and body while other members of the team were treating his wounds in May of  2017. He then allegedly posed in front of the corpse as part of a reenlistment ceremony. 

Navy SEAL Murder Case
Navy Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, right, walks with his wife, Andrea Gallagher, on June 26, 2019, in San Diego. Julie Watson / AP

Gallagher's attorney described the trial as a mutiny led by junior SEALs that did not like his clients demanding leadership style. The two week trial was rocked by shocking moments including a stunning admission from a prosecution witness, Navy SEAL Corey Scott, who said he and not Gallagher, killed the injured teenage ISIS fighter. When the defense attorney asked Scott why, he replied, "I knew he would die anyway."

Prosecutor, Navy Cmdr. Jeff Pietrzyk said Gallagher's own words and photos proved his guilt. In a social media post, the SEAL is seen posing in front of the corpse with a message sent to his friends that said "good story behind this, got him with my hunting knife."

But Gallagher and his wife Andrea have steadfastly maintained his innocence.

"This is not the way that we treat people in this country, especially a decorated war hero," Andrea Gallagher said.

Gallagher was only found guilty for posing with the body, which is in violation of the Army's code of conduct. It carries a four month prison sentence, but he has six months time served.