US soldier charged with murder in shooting of contractor in Iraq

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A soldier from the United States is imprisoned in Hawaii charged with the murder of a civilian contractor in Iraq. Spc. Beyshee O. Velez is accused of shooting dead Lucas Vinson.

Vinson, 27, offered a ride to an American soldier who flagged his vehicle down on September 13, following which he was shot three times. He died of his wounds. At the time he was stationed at Contingency Operating Base Speicher near Tikrit and worked for KBR.

Vinson and 31-year-old Velez are both from Louisiana. Velez faces two alternate charges of murder, an assault charge and a charge of fleeing from authority. The maximum sentence he faces at his court martial if convicted is life imprisonment. Details on the shooting are scarce and the military says investigations are ongoing.