St. Louis Public Radio News
4:44 pm
Thu March 20, 2003

Military Officer Recommends Against Court-Martial

New Orleans, La. – A military hearing officer Thursday recommended against court-martialing two Illinois pilots who killed four Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan last year in a mistaken bombing.

The recommendation was to be announced later today but it was disclosed by defense attorney Charles W. Gittins. Gittins says Col.Patrick Rosenow recommended that all charges against Maj. Harry Schmidt and Maj. William Umbach be dropped.

The recommendation is a key step in determining whether Schmidt and Umbach will face a military trial on involuntary manslaughter and other charges. That could put each of them in prison for up to 64 years.

The final decision is up to Lt. Gen. Bruce Carlson, commander of the Eighth Air Force.