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Probation sought for U.S. contractor

NEW ORLEANS, May 6 (UPI) -- Defense attorneys are seeking probation for a former Army Ranger who pleaded guilty to killing a man while serving as a private contractor in Afghanistan.

Don Ayala, 46, of New Orleans, is due to be sentenced for involuntary manslaughter Friday in the death of his handcuffed prisoner, Abdul Salam last November, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reports.

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Ayala says he was overcome with "horror" when he realized that his friend and colleague, Paula Lloyd, had been set on fire and the prisoner he had handcuffed was responsible.

Ayala took out his gun and shot Salam in the head, killing him instantly. Lloyd, a social scientist working with soldiers, died two months later of multiple organ failure.

Federal prosecutors charge Salam's killing was "an execution" and that a prison sentence for Ayala is justified.

He faces 78- to 97 months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines but his attorneys are asking Judge Claude Hilton to spare him.

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