New evidence has been exposed in the case of the U.S. Navy SEAL accused of stabbing an ISIS prisoner to death.
Navy SEAL Chief Edward “Eddie” Gallagher, 39, appeared before Navy Judge Advocate Capt. Arthur Record during an Article 32 hearing on Wednesday where evidence was presented to determine whether or not to proceed with a full trial, Task & Purpose first reported Thursday.
Gallagher, a 19-year Navy veteran, allegedly executed a wounded ISIS detainee with a knife in May 2017.
Navy SEALs were administering medical aid to a wounded 15-year-old ISIS fighter when one SEAL allegedly stabbed the prisoner to death and then posed for photos next to the body.
The rules of engagement matter. Full stop. https://t.co/VPyL0bQWtX
— Jared Keller (@jaredbkeller) November 15, 2018
Before the evidence was released, Gallagher maintained that the fighter succumbed to combat wounds obtained earlier. His attorney, Phillip Stackhouse, even said, “What we’ve learned in our independent investigation into these allegations is that a crime simply didn’t happen.”
However, evidence released this week included several videos, some of which were obtained from helmet cameras worn by the ISIS fighter and Navy SEALs. Video was also released of Gallagher’s re-enlistment ceremony, which reportedly corroborated witness testimony.
Text messages were also obtained from several of the SEALs’ phones, one of which allegedly revealed a message from Gallagher boasting, “I got him with my hunting knife,” reportedly accompanied by a photo of himself with the dead ISIS fighter.
Gallagher’s legal team and family refute these allegations.
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) November 16, 2018
Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) Special Agent Joe Warpinski was called as a witness and delivered testimony from nine SEALs from Gallagher’s unit, testimony he had gathered since April during his investigation, according to the T&P report.
Several members of SEAL Team 7 Alpha Platoon were providing medical treatment to a teenaged ISIS fighter who suffered a leg injury from shrapnel derived from a nearby airstrike. Iraqi forces had captured the fighter, then turned him over to the SEAL team.
Gallagher wasn’t present as the other SEALs treated the fighter. However, once the fighter was stabilized, Gallagher allegedly “walked up without saying anything at all” and began to stab the fighter, according to alleged claims from his teammates.
Three SEAL members claim to have witnessed the killing. One said the act left him in “complete disbelief.” Another “couldn’t believe what had happened,” saying the fighter “was just a brainwashed kid,” according to T&P.
Shortly after, they claim Gallagher allegedly posed for photos with the fighter’s body, cradling the fighter’s head in one hand and holding his knife in the other hand. He reportedly completed a re-enlistment ceremony in a similar pose, according to the claims.
Gallagher faces 14 charges, including “murder, aggravated assault, obstructing justice and drug charges tied to alleged pain reliever and anabolic steroid abuse,” according to the Navy Times.
His aggravated assault charges stem from incidents involving a male and female civilian during the same deployment in Mosul. From a sniper post in a tower near the Tigris River, Gallagher allegedly shot and wounded an elderly Iraqi citizen in June 2017, then shot and wounded a young girl in July 2017, according to claims by his teammates.
Other SEALs in his unit told investigators that Gallagher’s rifle was “off” but reportedly “felt that he was targeting civilians,” according to the report.
Gallager was arrested on Sept. 11 at the Camp Pendleton Intrepid Spirit Center where he was receiving treatment for head injuries incurred from his overseas combat duty.
Authorities then detained him in the Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar in San Diego, where he has remained thus far.