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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 11:19 pm

Plea talks for sergeant charged in Iraq shooting

The Associated Press

A lawyer for an Army sergeant charged with killing four other soldiers and a Navy officer at a mental health clinic in Iraq says he's talking with prosecutors about a possible plea agreement that would spare Sgt. John Russell from the death penalty.

James Culp said Wednesday in an email that if the negotiations are successful, Russell would plead guilty to five counts of intentional murder.

The lawyer says he would expect the prosecution to seek a sentence of life without parole.

Russell is accused of going on a shooting spree at the Camp Liberty Combat Stress Center near Baghdad in May 2009.

His defense team has said he has no memory of the killings, and witnesses have said he appeared distant and paranoid before the attack.

He is being held at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, about 40 miles south of Seattle.