FORT LEWIS, Wash., Oct. 1 (UPI) -- A U.S. Army soldier will not face murder charges in the deaths of two Iraqi boys in 2007, but may still see jail time if he is found to have obstructed the ensuing investigation.
Paratrooper Sgt. 1st Class Michael Barbera will be prosecuted at Joint Base Lewis-McChord for allegedly obstructing an Army investigation into the boys' deaths in Iraq's Diyala Province.
Barbera allegedly shot the boys during a botched reconnaissance mission, exposing his cavalry squadron and forcing them to flee. He also ordered a third Iraqi be shot during the retreat.
The Army's announcement Tuesday that Barbera will not face murder charges over the boys' death is the second time it has declined to prosecute him for the killings.
Barbera's fellow soldiers who were in the village at the time of the shooting said at a pretrial hearing in April that the boys were not perceived to be a threat to the Americans. Villagers later said they were deaf and mute.
Barbera allegedly threatened the wife of Carl Prine, a journalist who began looking into the case for the Tribune-Review.
He could be sentenced up to eight years of jail time if convicted of the two charges that he tried to obstruct the Army investigation and for the threat to the journalist's wife.