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Accused soldier delusional, parents say

Nov. 29, 2010 at 12:55 PM

FORT CARSON, Colo., Nov. 29 (UPI) -- A U.S. Army private accused of murder for shooting a captured Taliban commander was hearing voices, his parents say.

Pfc. David Lawrence, 20, faced a hearing Monday at Fort Carson, Colo. He is accused of shooting Mullah Mohebullah Oct. 17 while guarding him in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Days before the shooting, Lawrence was examined and given drugs for depression and sleeplessness, his attorney said. Then he was put on guard duty despite having no training for it.

Brett and Wendy Lawrence told the Times their son had told them he was hearing voices, including one that told him how to avoid roadside bombs.

"He said those voices were guiding him and telling him what to do," Wendy Lawrence said. She said several of her relatives had mental illnesses.

The Army has ordered a sanity investigation but Lawrence's civilian lawyer, James Culp, was denied a request to delay the preliminary hearing, called an Article 32.

"We are going to an Article 32 for a kid who is hearing voices," Culp said. He said he suspected the Army was rushing the case to court-martial to appease Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

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