In Feb. 2008, a military judge convicted Sgt. Evan Vela, a 24-year-old U.S. Army sniper, “and sentenced him to 10 years in prison for killing an Iraqi civilian who wandered into the hiding place where six soldiers were sleeping.” Vela, who was sentenced to a dishonorable discharge, was found guilty of planting an AK-47 on the dead Iraqi man’s body and of lying to military investigators about the shooting. According to a letter sent by the White House to Vela’s family, President Bush is now “strongly considering” a request to pardon Vela:
The father of an eastern Idaho soldier says he has received a letter from the White House confirming that his request that his son be pardoned by President Bush is being “seriously considered.”
Curtis Carnahan says he received the letter last week.
Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) have written letters to Bush on behalf of Vela, urging that the president grant him clemency. Crapo and Simpson argued that Vela “was simply following the orders of his superiors.”