On September 14, 26-year-old Army Sgt. Wesley Durbin of Hurst was killed at a small patrol base south of Baghdad when he and another soldier, 24-year-old Staff Sgt. Darris Dawson of Florida, were gunned down by a fellow soldier. As The Dallas Morning News noted in September, Durbin was a former Marine who enlisted after graduating Dallas Lutheran School and fought in Iraq, only to enlist in the Army later -- because, said his wife, "He was a soldier from the time he woke up to the time he went to bed."
Till now, little has been known about the incident, as the Army withheld details about the shootings while awaiting an Article 32 hearing to determine whether there was enough evidence to court martial Army Sgt. Joseph Bozicevich, who's accused of the murders. But yesterday, in a Fort Stewart, Georgia, courtroom, soldiers -- both American and Iraqi -- who served with Durbin, Dawson and Bozicevich began offering to an Army judge their eyewitness accounts of the shootings.
The Army Times' account is straightforward, but nonetheless harrowing. It begins:
"Just f------ kill me! Just f------ kill me!"
Sgt. Joseph C. Bozicevich was yelling as he lay facedown on the ground, restrained by at least two other soldiers at Patrol Base Jurf at Sahkr, Iraq.
Nearby, the two soldiers Bozicevich is accused of shooting lay bleeding as medics and fellow soldiers worked furiously to save them.
And here is an excerpt from the Associated Press narrative:
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1st Sgt. Xaver Perdue sobbed as he told the court that as another soldier was wrestling with Bozicevich on the ground, Perdue pressed the muzzle of his rifle against Bozicevich's head and slipped off the safety, prepared to fire.
"I was like, this guy just killed two of my soldiers," said Perdue, the platoon sergeant. "He was saying, 'Shoot me, kill me.' I put my weapon on his head. I said, 'I'm going to give you exactly what you want.'"