Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher accused of killing 12-year-old ISIS prisoner also 'shot at innocent elderly Iraqi civilians'
A former serviceman who served in Iraq along with a Navy SEAL testified against his comrade on Wednesday, accusing him of premeditated murder, saying he stabbed an ISIS prisoner twice in the neck during their deployment. The prisoner reportedly looked nearly 12-years-old. He also claimed that the defendant shot at innocent civilians in Iraq.
Sniper Dylan Dille, who took the stand on Wednesday at the San Diego court-martial of Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, said that he believed Gallagher while being stationed in Iraq in 2017 shot at an old man and fired at women walking along the Tigris river as a group of people were getting water.
After hearing a gunshot coming from Gallagher's position and seeing the old man fall, Dille said he looked through his scope and saw the man bleeding through his white clothing. He said Gallagher then radioed that he thought he had missed the old man.
The incident allegedly occurred before Gallagher allegedly killed the young ISIS fighter and posed for pictures with his dead body later.
Dille said when a radio call announced the prisoner was wounded on May 3, 2017, Gallagher replied: "Don't touch him, he's all mine."
Another serviceman, Craig Miller, who was Special Warfare Operator 1st Class, testified on Wednesday, stating that he was there when the murder happened. Miller said that he saw Gallagher plunge his knife into the young prisoner's neck twice.
Dille and Miller claimed that they witnessed Gallagher allegedly plunging his knife into the young boy's neck twice and then administering him medical care. When Gallagher noticed later that day that the pair was visibly upset over the incident, he tried to justify it by saying that the boy was "just an ISIS dirtbag."
The updates come after prosecutors on Tuesday claimed that Gallagher texted his friends afterwards and bragged about killing an ISIS fighter with his hunting knife.
Gallagher, who has been accused of multiple war crimes, has pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder during his 2017 tour of duty in Iraq. He was taken in military ciustody on September 11, 2018. His attorneys have claimed that he is being set up by a group of SEALs who do not like him.
The trial has garnered national attention, with even President Donald Trump mentioning the case, and has raised the issue of exactly how far military members should go on the battlefield.
Trump had intervened to move Gallagher to less restrictive confinement in March, and announced in May that he was considering a pardon for multiple American military members accused of war crimes.
Defense attorney Tim Parlatore, while talking to the jurors on Tuesday, said: "This case is not about murder. It's about mutiny. He didn't murder or attempt to murder anyone," previously adding that his client was "up for the fight" whereas others were not.
"They wanted Gallagher removed. Reputations are everything on the SEAL Teams, and they were worried about what he would tell people about their performance in Iraq. He was calling them 'cowards' in the country, mostly just to motivate them to get off their asses and fight, and they resented that and worried he’d do that in California - that what happened on deployment wouldn’t stay on deployment. They didn’t understand that he wasn’t going to do that," he told The Navy Times.
Congressional Republicans have taken up his cause and prevailed on Trump to release Gallagher from the brig into better conditions in a military hospital. A judge released Gallagher from custody last month after prosecutors violated his constitutional rights by tracking defense attorney emails in an effort to find who leaked court documents to reporters.
With AP inputs