Fort Bragg lieutenant found guilty in Afghan civilians' deaths
Posted August 1, 2013
Fort Bragg, N.C. — A military jury on Thursday found a Fort Bragg Army lieutenant guilty of murder in the shooting deaths of two Afghan civilians more than a year ago during a military mission.
Prosecutors characterized 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, 28, with Fort Bragg's 82nd Airborne Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team, as aggressive toward Afghans and argued that he illegally ordered the fatal shootings of two men on motorcycles in Afghanistan's Kandahar province.
Lorance's attorney, Ret. Lt. Col. Guy Womack, has said his client was protecting his platoon, which had suffered multiple casualties in the weeks prior to the July 2, 2012, incident, and that intelligence information and helicopters over the area of the attack in Afghanistan's Kandahar Province, warned the platoon to be on the lookout for men on motorcycles.
"I am bitterly disappointed," Womack said. "Lt. Lorance is an outstanding officer who made a decision to engage a suspected enemy approaching his position and now has been declared a murderer. The members heard all the evidence and I am confident they made the decision they believe is correct, but it is a crushing blow for those of us who know Lt. Lorance."
Lorance was also found guilty on charges of attempted murder, wrongfully communicating a threat, wrongfully and willfully discharging a firearm into a populated village and impeding the investigation into the shootings.
He was sentenced to 20 years in a military prison, forfeiture of all pay and dismissal from the U.S. Army.
Lorance's mother, Anna Lorance, said prior to her son's court-martial, that she believes he did what he had to do to keep his soldiers alive and that his family plans to keep fighting for his freedom.
"He is a hero to me, because he did what he thought was best in the heat of the moment to bring his soldiers home alive," Anna Lorance said. "I will fight until the day I die, and every family member we have will, until he gets the justice he deserves."