June 3, 2004
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Two 19-year-old Marines pleaded guilty to giving electric shocks to an Iraqi prisoner they were guarding in early April, months after the Abu Ghraib prison abuse, military officials said.
Pfc. Andrew J. Sting and Pfc. Jeremiah J. Trefney entered their pleas at a May 14 court-martial in Iraq, according to a statement by the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force in Iraq. Lt. Nathan Braden, a Marine spokesman at Camp Pendleton, Calif., released the statement Thursday.
Sting and Trefney were infantrymen with 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, which is stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and attached to the 1st Marine Division based at Pendleton.
According to the military statement, the pair and two other Marines wanted to discipline the detainee for throwing trash outside his cell and speaking loudly at the Al Mahmudiya prison, a temporary holding facility south of Baghdad.
The Marines attached wires to a power convertor, which delivered 110 volts of electricity to the detainee as he returned from the bathroom, the statement said.
Sting pleaded guilty to charges of assault, cruelty and maltreatment, dereliction of duty, and conspiracy to assault. He was sentenced to a year in prison, a reduction of rank, forfeiture of pay and a bad-conduct discharge.
Trefney pleaded guilty to cruelty and maltreatment, dereliction of duty, false official statement, violating a lawful order, and conspiracy to commit assault. He was sentenced to eight months in prison, reduction of rank and forfeiture of all pay, and he will also receive a bad-conduct discharge.
The two other Marines, who were not identified, are awaiting court action.
The Marine statement did not name their hometowns. Sting's father, Jeff, said his son is from Bradner, Ohio. The Patriot-News of Harrisburg reported Thursday that Trefney is from Swatara Township, Lebanon County, Pa.
The pleas by Trefney and Sting came five days before the highly publicized court-martial hearing for another Pennsylvania, Army Reserve Spc. Jeremy C. Sivits, in the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal.
Sivits, 24, of Hyndman pleaded guilty to four counts of abuse, the first defendant to go on trial in the Abu Ghraib case. Six other reservists are charged with the abuse at Abu Ghraib, which happened between October 2003 and January 2004.
The Al Mahmudiya prison held about 300 detainees and was guarded since late March by active-duty Marines and reservists, Marine officials said.