HINESVILLE, GA (WTOC) - FORT STEWART, GA (WTOC) - Army Spc. Neftaly Platero was sentenced on Wednesday afternoon to life without parole in the double fatal shootings of two soldiers.
A five member court martial panel recommended Platero be demoted to private, forfeit all pay and benefits and receive a dishonorable discharge. The ultimate decision is left to the division commander, Major General Abe Abrams. The panel reached their decision in roughly one hour.
"My biggest fear was that my son and the rest of these men would be dishonored by some watered down decision," stated William Noonan, father of Pfc Gebray Noonan, one of the two men killed.
Defense attorneys had asked the panel, the Army's equivalent to a jury, to give Platero the opportunity of parole.
During the sentencing phase on Wednesday, his attorneys called Platero's mother, sisters, and fellow soldiers and Marines as character witnesses. Platero served four years as a Marine before leaving the military, then joining the Army. Lawyers urged the panel to look at Platero's overall military record and not judge him for what they called "the worst half hour of his life".
But prosecutors urged the panel to impose the maximum penalty. They contended he had ruined the lives of all the families involved, including his own, with "complete disregard".
He was convicted Tuesday for fatally shooting Noonan of Watertown, Conn., and Spc. John Carrillo Jr. of Stockton, Calif., on Sept. 23, 2010, while deployed to Iraq. All of the soldiers involved were members of the 4th Brigade's 3-15 Infantry of the Third ID. Spc. Jeffrey Shonk, a third shooting victim who survived, testified in the case.
"I will never say, from this day forward, that my son was murdered by a U.S. soldier because it dishonors everyone who wears the uniform. From this day forward, my son died in defense of his country, by the vaule that he stood by and believed in," said Ling Noonan, mother of Pfc Gebray Noonan.
The men were deployed to Iraq in July 2010. The shooting took place in their housing quarters in September 2010.