The Strange Case of Mario Lozano
Spc Lozano was in the turret of a Humvee, behind his M240B machine gun. After over an hour in position, and having turned back over a dozen vehicles without incident, a vehicle came barreling towards their Humvee at 40 MPH or more. Despite signals and warning shots the vehicle proceeded.
As the vehicle crossed a point 140 meters away, Specialist Lozano shined a high intensity spotlight on it. Another soldier used a green laser on the windshield to warn the vehicle off. Here’s how the official US Army report describes what happened next.
The car crossed the Alert Line still heading towards the Soldiers’ position without slowing down. Specialist Lozano continued to shine the spotlight, and shouted at the vehicle to stop, a fruitless effort, but an instantaneous reaction based on his training.
Without slowing down, the car continued toward the Warning Line with the spotlight and laser still on it. The car continued to approach at a high rate of speed, coming closer to the Soldiers than any other vehicle that evening. When the car got to the Warning Line,(about 100 meters) Specialist Lozano, while still holding the spotlight in his left hand, used his right hand to quickly fire a two to four round burst into a grassy area to the on-coming vehicle’s right (the pre-set aiming point) as a warning shot. The vehicle maintained its speed as it went beyond the Warning Line. Staff Sergeant B., a former
Specialist Lozano has told me that the vehicle stopped only ten meters or so away from his Humvee. He crouched down behind his weapon expecting an explosion from what he believed was a car bomb. He thought he and his battle buddies were about to die.
The vehicle was not a car bomb. It contained Italian journalist Guiliana Sgrena, just released by her Iraqi captors and Italian Intelligence officers Nicola Calipari and Andrea Carpani. . Calipari who had negotiated Sgrena’s release was struck by one of Lozano’s rounds and died on the scene. Sgrena was wounded and and was taken to the US Army hospital in the nearby Green Zone. Carpani who was driving admitted to an estimated speed of 40-50 MPH. Despite a US Army investigation that concluded Mario Lozano had committed no crime Italian authorities have pursued murder charges. They have indicted him, and a trial date is scheduled for April 17, 2007. Less than two weeks.
The Italians have no legal jurisdiction. Spc Lozano was acting under the
Spc Lozano’s actions do not rise to the commonly accepted definition of murder, which requires an intent to kill, and precludes actions taken in self defense. Self defense requires that a reasonable person feels his life is threatened. Finally murder precludes actions taken by soldiers following Lawful Orders of their superiors. The
Today Mario Lozano is under indictment in
Several prestigious civilian attorneys have recently met and conferred with Spc Lozano. The process of building a legal defense team of civilian and military lawyers is underway. A team that can successfully exonerate Spc Lozano in
Thanks To: Mudville
Labels: Mario Lozano