The most senior officer of a group of US soldiers to face a court martial over the execution-style killing of four Iraqis has pleaded not guilty at a military court in Germany.
Master Sergeant John Hatley, 40, has pleaded not guilty to murder charges in the final trial of a group of US servicemen accused of murdering four Iraqi men in Baghdad in 2007.
The trial started on Monday in the southern German town of Vilseck, where the sergeant serves with the 172nd Infantry Brigade.
Hatley is the most senior of three US non-commissioned officers to be tried for killing the four detainees in March or April 2007 in or near southwest Baghdad.
Bound, blindfolded and shot
Prosecutors, and two soldiers previously convicted over the murders, have said the Iraqis were bound, blindfolded and shot in the head. Witnesses say the soldiers then dumped the bodies, which have never been found, into a canal.
The military court has charged Hatley, who is also accused of the separate killing of a prisoner on or about January 3 that year, with premeditated murder.
In their defense, the soldiers testified that they thought the Iraqi prisoners were terrorists.
Four other soldiers have already been convicted in the case. One received life imprisonment and another up to 35 years. The two others received sentences of seven and eight months.
A verdict for Hatley is expected on Friday.