FORT BRAGG, N.C., Aug. 2 (UPI) -- A U.S. Army officer was convicted of murder Thursday for ordering soldiers under his command in Afghanistan to shoot all Afghans they saw on motorcycles.
First Lt. Clint Lorance, 28, was found guilty of a lengthy list of related charges after a court-martial at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer reported. Lorance could receive a life sentence with the sentencing phase beginning immediately.
Lorance was deployed to Afghanistan after previously serving as a military police officer in Iraq. Witnesses called by prosecutors testified he was often aggressive toward Afghans.
First Lt. Katrina Lucas, who testified for the defense, said members of the Taliban often used red motorcycles while they were on expeditions to plant bombs. But she acknowledged Afghans with no terrorist ties or intentions also rode them.
Lorance took over a platoon in the 82nd Airborne Division in July 2012 after the previous commander had been injured by a bomb. Soldiers testified he gave the order to shoot all Afghans on motorcycles a few days later.
Under military rules of engagement, soldiers are not supposed to shoot unless their targets have displayed hostile actions or intent.