FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) _ After an Army medic told his sergeant that a bullet-ridden insurgent was going to die, the sergeant ordered him to suffocate the Iraqi and then fatally shot the wounded man himself, the medic testified during a court-martial Tuesday.
Spc. John Torres said Sgt. Leonardo Trevino first asked him what could be done to speed up the Iraqi's death following a gun battle in Muqdadiyah, Iraq.
The medic said he suggested suffocating the wounded man, but was only kidding. When Trevino ordered him to carry out the act, Torres testified, he pretended to do so by lightly holding his hand over the man's mouth.
Torres later told Army investigators that he regretted his actions that night in June, although he testified Tuesday that the man was bleeding so badly that he could not have even given him morphine for pain.
Under cross-examination, he denied defense attorney Richard Stevens' assertion that he felt bad because the Iraqi was dead when he removed his hand from his mouth.
"He wasn't dead," Torres testified. "He was still … breathing."
Trevino, of San Antonio, has pleaded innocent. He faces up to life in a military prison and a discharge if convicted of premeditated murder and other charges. Authorities say he shot the insurgent in the abdomen, a nonfatal wound, before ordering Torres to suffocate him. They allege he then shot the Iraqi in the head and tried to cover up the crime.
Torres said after he told Trevino that the insurgent was still breathing, he turned to walk away and then heard a gunshot, then saw the sergeant with a gun in his hand.
Torres said he returned and saw the insurgent was dead and that it appeared from blood on the Iraqi's forehead that he had been shot in the head.
Stevens showed the military jury a photograph on a large screen of the young insurgent's body, zooming in on his face. Blood could be seen across his left eyebrow to his left temple. Torres told Stevens that the photo did not appear to indicate a gunshot wound in the head, but he told the prosecutor, Maj. Jacob Wolf, that it was possible.
Earlier Tuesday, Sgt. Tristan Miller testified that Trevino bragged about killing the Iraqi.
"He said, 'The man wouldn't die,'" Miller testified. "'I shot him and he wouldn't die. Torres suffocated him and he wouldn't die. Then I shot him in the head.'"
Miller was testifying in the court-martial as part of an immunity deal with prosecutors. Under cross examination, Stevens pointed out several inconsistencies in Miller's previous statements to investigators about whether he had properly searched the insurgent to determine whether he was armed.
Miller said Trevino ordered another soldier to place a gun by the Iraqi and say that he was armed.
But Torres testified that when he went into the room later, he never saw a gun.
The trial at Fort Hood, where Trevino is a 1st Cavalry Division soldier, is expected to last a week.
In March, Torres was acquitted of attempted premeditated murder and dereliction of duty for failing to provide aid, said Maj. Steven Lamb.
In another trial in March, Cpl. Justin Whiteman, accused of placing the pistol by the insurgent's body, was acquitted of accessory after the fact to attempted premeditated murder and with dereliction of duty, Lamb said.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.