Fate of Navy SEAL accused of fatally stabbing ISIS detainee in jury's hands

A jury began deliberations Monday afternoon in the murder trial of Navy SEAL...

Posted: Jul 2, 2019 9:01 AM

A jury began deliberations Monday afternoon in the murder trial of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, who is accused of stabbing a prisoner to death in Iraq.

The jury of seven service members, all men, will resume deliberations Tuesday morning.

Navy prosecutors said the chief petty officer not only killed the young ISIS fighter in Mosul in 2017, but also posed for photos next to his corpse, shot at noncombatants and intimidated other SEALs who might report him.

Gallagher's defense portrayed him as an "old-school, hard-charging warrior" who was targeted by younger "millennial" comrades who harbored "personal animosity" toward him.

The 40-year-old special warfare operator chief faces life in prison if convicted of murder at his court martial at Naval Base San Diego.

The prosecution, the defense and the judge told jurors court Monday that some witnesses had lied on the stand. It will be up to them to decide who they believe.

The prosecution's final say on the case

Commander Jeff Pietrzyk said Gallagher's words, photos and testimony from fellow SEALS proved that he intentionally caused the death of a wounded young ISIS prisoner.

Pietrzyk cited a text message with a photo of the dead man that had the caption "good story behind this, got him with my hunting knife."

"The death of the ISIS detainee is a result of stabbing because Gallagher said so," Pietrzyk said.

SEAL Special Operations Chief Craig Miller testified that he saw Gallagher stab the 12-year-old in the neck and later ask "who's not good with it?"

Former Navy SEAL Dylan Dille told jurors that Gallagher posed for individual and group photos with the prisoner's body.

A few weeks after they returned to the United States, Dille said Gallagher pulled him aside and told him, "I know you guys are talking about what happened. If you stop talking about it, then I'll stop talking about it."

Pietrzyk acknowledged that the victim was not a sympathetic figure. But the victim was in the care of US servicemen and receiving medical aid, Pietrzyk said.

He was "no longer a lawful target," Pietrzyk said.

ISIS might have done worse to its captives, Pietrzyk said, but "we are not ISIS."

The defense argument

The defense did not dispute that Gallagher texted the photo.

Lead attorney Tim Parlatore chalked it up to dark humor and said it did not prove that Gallagher committed murder.

Holes in the investigation, including "no body, no autopsy, no forensics," meant the prosecution had no case, he said.

"We shouldn't even be here, this case should have been dismissed."

Witnesses who testified against Gallagher "put mutiny above the truth," Parlatore said.

Dille also testified that during a sniper mission, he saw Gallagher shoot at civilians, including an elderly man and two women in hijabs.

Dalton Tolbert, another witness, said he fired a warning shot at an old man during a sniper mission with Gallagher. The man ran away, Tolbert said, but fell after another sniper fired.

A third witness said he heard shots fired from Gallagher's position during another sniper mission. Joshua Vriens said he saw four girls who looked to be between the ages of 12 and 14. After the shot, one girl clutched her stomach and fell down.

All three admitted on cross-examination they did not actually see Gallagher fire the shot.

The defense team called eight witnesses, two of whom disputed that Gallagher stabbed the detainee.

One of them, Staff Sgt. Giorgio Kirylo, testified that he did not see stab wounds on the ISIS detainee's neck.

Kirylo testified he moved the body, after medical efforts failed, to take a "trophy photo."

The group wanted to take the photo because "everyone was happy about the day" and the success of the mission, Kirylo said. Kirylo called Miller, who said he witnessed the stabbing, a liar.

Another defense witness, Special Operations Master Chief Brian Alazzawi, said no one ever complained about Gallagher shooting at civilians or stabbing a prisoner while on deployment.

The SEAL who changed his story

Shocking witness testimony came early on in the trial, when a prosecution witness testified that it was he who killed the prisoner, not Gallagher.

Special Operator First Class Corey Scott said that while he'd seen Gallagher stab the prisoner, he was the one who "suffocated" him.

Scott, a SEAL medic, said the prisoner was "unconscious but breathing normally" with a wound on his leg when Scott came upon the scene.

Gallagher and another medic were already there, and someone had performed a tracheotomy -- an incision in the neck to open an airway -- on the prisoner, and a tube was in his neck.

After the other medic left the scene, Scott said he saw "Gallagher pull out his knife and stab the ISIS prisoner underneath the collar bone at least once." He said he did not see any blood. Scott froze and was not sure what to do and said he "stayed with the prisoner until he asphyxiated."

On cross-examination, he told the defense that he never saw any blood after the stabbing. That's when he admitted to killing the prisoner himself, suggesting it was an act of mercy because he was concerned the boy -- a prisoner of the Iraqi forces -- would be tortured by the Iraqis.

Scott, who testified under immunity, did not admit to killing the prisoner in previous interviews with investigators and prosecutors. He said he was only doing so now because he was granted immunity, which means he cannot be prosecuted for his testimony.

He also said he does not want to see Gallagher prosecuted and he does not want to see him go to jail.

In the prosecution's rebuttal closing argument, Lt. Scott McDonald said Gallagher's fate was not up to Scott.

"That's not for him to decide."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 614946

Reported Deaths: 9807
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion849231342
Lake45784693
Allen33103560
Hamilton29752316
St. Joseph27572383
Elkhart24496346
Vanderburgh19679255
Tippecanoe18150144
Johnson15234296
Porter14970172
Hendricks14550253
Madison11071223
Clark10852145
Vigo10819185
Monroe9496115
Delaware9193136
LaPorte9173164
Howard8325148
Kosciusko811485
Warrick683399
Hancock6783106
Bartholomew6659100
Floyd6522113
Wayne6194164
Grant6050118
Dubois559081
Boone557968
Morgan551996
Henry512365
Marshall507884
Dearborn488745
Cass487864
Noble476159
Jackson428747
Shelby423381
Lawrence395180
Clinton375845
Gibson375560
Harrison354046
DeKalb351365
Montgomery349754
Knox337839
Miami325244
Steuben315846
Whitley313126
Wabash306951
Adams303636
Ripley301646
Putnam299152
Huntington295760
Jasper293035
White275943
Daviess271776
Jefferson267738
Decatur249983
Fayette249949
Greene242763
Posey241828
Wells237551
LaGrange230363
Scott227939
Clay225032
Randolph215848
Jennings200937
Spencer193622
Sullivan193633
Washington189023
Fountain185227
Starke177044
Jay168723
Owen168338
Fulton165430
Orange161035
Carroll160616
Rush156418
Perry156129
Vermillion150034
Franklin149933
Tipton134433
Parke13098
Pike118826
Blackford112023
Pulaski97937
Newton92621
Brown88835
Benton87110
Crawford8099
Martin75013
Warren6867
Switzerland6695
Union6297
Ohio4967
Unassigned0375

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 872918

Reported Deaths: 10856
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin102616707
Cuyahoga868931154
Hamilton65148455
Montgomery43662420
Summit35411766
Lucas31794634
Butler31451232
Stark26247445
Warren19939144
Lorain19378229
Mahoning17561339
Lake16350161
Clermont16235113
Delaware1463881
Licking13453142
Fairfield1301782
Trumbull12980317
Greene12226144
Medina11798169
Clark11094266
Wood10507158
Allen10031128
Portage9514111
Richland9275134
Miami927273
Marion7512113
Tuscarawas7455186
Columbiana7433124
Pickaway735250
Muskingum714042
Wayne7140172
Erie6253130
Ross5589100
Hancock556292
Scioto545365
Geauga518955
Darke474395
Lawrence464658
Union459130
Ashtabula457973
Sandusky440462
Huron435541
Mercer435590
Seneca435366
Auglaize425166
Belmont423948
Jefferson423969
Shelby422923
Washington396340
Athens38619
Putnam379276
Madison359930
Knox358423
Ashland349638
Fulton341744
Defiance336188
Crawford327274
Preble323637
Brown318821
Logan314835
Ottawa297443
Clinton293944
Highland282219
Williams282267
Jackson266145
Guernsey259326
Champaign254628
Fayette241030
Morrow23594
Perry235518
Holmes227274
Henry222954
Hardin217033
Coshocton208023
Van Wert204445
Gallia200126
Wyandot198151
Pike180918
Adams179815
Hocking174024
Carroll158216
Paulding145521
Noble121040
Meigs110324
Monroe103433
Harrison89821
Morgan84531
Vinton71714
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Mostly Cloudy
24° wxIcon
Hi: 27° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 14°
Angola
Mostly Cloudy
19° wxIcon
Hi: 24° Lo: 19°
Feels Like: 10°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
23° wxIcon
Hi: 26° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 17°
Fort Wayne
Mostly Cloudy
24° wxIcon
Hi: 27° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 14°
Lima
Cloudy
26° wxIcon
Hi: 28° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 16°
More Clouds than Sun Wednesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events