June 21 (UPI) -- A Navy SEAL medic shocked the murder trial of special operations chief Edward Gallagher Thursday when he testified that he killed a wounded Islamic State fighter in 2017 in an act of mercy.
Corey Scott told the military jury that he suffocated the injured teenage militant while treating him in Iraq after Gallagher had stabbed the 15-year-old. Gallagher is facing a court-martial over the militant's death along with attempted murder charges of an elderly man and young girl.
Scott, who was granted immunity for his testimony, said he used his thumb to plug the fighter's breathing tube until he died after Gallagher stabbed him in the collarbone for no medical reason. Scott said he and Gallagher worked together to stabilize the prisoner, who was injured in an airstrike.
Scott said he was stunned when Gallagher, his platoon leader, stabbed the boy and walked away. He added that he believed the fighter would have been tortured by the Iraqi military once he was released.
"I knew he was going to die anyway, and I wanted to save him from waking up to whatever would happen to him," Scott said.
His testimony brought an angry rebuke from Navy prosecutors, who claimed that Scott changed his story after winning immunity to protect Gallagher.
"You can stand up there, and you can lie about how you killed the ISIS prisoner so Chief Gallagher does not have to go to jail," Navy prosecutor, Lt. Brian John said in court.
Several SEALs testified against Gallagher and said they had received death threats after agreeing to cooperate with investigators.
Timothy Parlatore, Gallagher's attorney claimed in opening arguments this week that SEAL members testifying against him conspired to lie against his clients because they did not want to go into battle.
"This case is not about murder, it's about mutiny," Parlatore said. "They didn't want to get in the fight. So they banded together to make a plan to get Edward Gallagher out of the fight, permanently."
Before the trial started, lead prosecutor Navy Cmdr. Chris Czaplak was removed after it was revealed that he was involved in a scheme to track emails sent to the defense and media.