Soldier's sanity debated in murder case

Dec. 1, 2010 at 3:58 PM

FORT CARSON, Colo., Dec. 1 (UPI) -- A Colorado hearing for an Army private, accused of killing a prisoner in Afghanistan, heard conflicting reports on his mental state.

Soldiers testified by telephone from Afghanistan Tuesday for Pfc. David Lawrence's preliminary hearing at Fort Carson, the Denver Post reported.

Lawrence, 20, is charged with premeditated murder for allegedly killing Taliban commander Mullah Mohebullah in his cell Oct. 17, hours after his capture. The defense portrays a troubled young man who was put on antidepressants and sent back to his unit, while the prosecution says Lawrence is feigning mental illness.

One witness, Pfc. Dimitri Jenkins said Lawrence, a "good friend," was "up and down."

"Sometimes you could tell he was on his meds, something in his eyes," Jenkins said.

But others said they saw him after the killing and heard him talk about claiming an insanity defense.

"It was something along the lines of his attorney is going to try to pull the crazy card," said Pvt. Aaron Rederstorf, recounting a statement he said he overheard after Lawrence was in custody.

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