Soldier faces charges in Afghan civilian's death

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) -- The Army announced a Fort Bragg Special Forces soldier will be court-martialed on charges that he killed an Afghan civilian and cut off his ear.

The Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg said Thursday that Master Sgt. Joseph D. Newell of Tecumseh, Mich., was arraigned Wednesday. The 38-year-old Newell was formally charged with murder and desecration of a body. A military trial was scheduled for Jan. 7.

Newell was charged following an event in March 5 near the village of Hyderabad in southern Afgnanistan's Helmand province. He was arrested March 20.

Newell's lawyer argued during a hearing last month that evidence against his client was weak and the charges should be dismissed. Prosecutors said one soldier saw the shooting and that Newell showed the ear to several others.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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