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Guilty Verdict At JBLM In Trial Of Sgt. Accused of Baghdad Shooting Spree

A case that featured harrowing testimony of combat-related mental illness ended Monday with a guilty verdict. Army Sergeant John Russell was convicted for murdering five fellow servicemen at a military mental health clinic in Baghdad in 2009.

A military judge found the 48-year-old Texas native guilty of premeditated murder. A public affairs spokesman at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma says Sergeant Russell showed no visible reaction.

The shooting spree in Baghdad was the worst case of violence committed by a U.S. soldier against fellow American troops during the war in Iraq. Russell initially faced the death penalty. But that possibility was removed as part of a deal to plead guilty.

The case was tried in western Washington because Russell was temporarily assigned while in Iraq to a Lewis-McChord based combat engineering unit. The convicted sergeant now faces a sentence of life in prison.

Tom Banse covers national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reports from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events are unfolding. Tom's stories can be found online and heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.