State News

Defense to begin in 'fragging' trial

Posted November 11, 2008 4:02 a.m. EST
Updated November 11, 2008 11:45 a.m. EST

— Defense lawyers will begin examining witnesses Wednesday for a New York National Guard soldier accused of killing two officers with a Claymore mine.

Prosecutors rested their case Monday against 41-year-old Staff Sgt. Alberto Martinez of Troy, N.Y.

Staff Sgt. Amy Harlan testified Monday at Fort Bragg that she gave Martinez at least three Claymore mines in April or early May 2005. Martinez's superior officer, Capt. Phillip Esposito, was killed in June when a Claymore mine detonated outside his room at their base in Iraq.

Martinez has pleaded not guilty in the deaths of 30-year-old Esposito of Suffern, N.Y., and 34-year-old 1st Lt. Louis E. Allen of Milford, Pa. He faces a possible death sentence if convicted.

Maj. Marc Cipriano, Martinez' defense attorney, said his case would likely take 10 days to present, but court ended early Tuesday because he said he didn't have enough witnesses at Fort Bragg to testify.