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JBLM Soldier Faces Hearing In Killing of Iraqi Boys

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File photo of the outside of a courthouse. (Photo by PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of the outside of a courthouse. (Photo by PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

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JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. (AP) — A U.S. soldier accused of deliberately killing two unarmed teenage boys as they herded cattle in Iraq seven years ago is due in military court.

Sgt. 1st Class Michael Barbera has been charged with premeditated murder and faces a mandatory life sentence if convicted. He is set for a preliminary hearing Wednesday at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state.

The Army has released few details about the allegations against him. The March 2007 killings were documented in a 2012 investigation by Pittsburgh newspaper The Tribune-Review, which said soldiers who served with Barbera had reported the slayings and remained troubled that he hadn’t been prosecuted.

It isn’t clear if Barbera has a civilian lawyer in addition to military defense attorneys. Barbera was most recently stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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