Clint Lorance, a North Texas Soldier, Will Spend 20 Years in Prison for Killing Afghan Civilians

Categories: News

ClintLorance.JPG
defendoursoldier.com
Clint Lorance
U.S. Army Lieutenant Clint Lorance had been in charge of his platoon for five days when, on July 2, 2012, he accompanied them on a routine, Afghan-led patrol in Kandahar Province. Not long after they left the base, the soldiers were approached by three men on motorcycles. Lorance ordered his men to open fire, leaving two of them dead. They were civilians.

According to an account posted online by his family, Lorance had good reason to give the order. His predecessor as platoon leader had just been wounded in a bombing, and the Taliban was known to be extremely active in the area. He'd also learned from the helicopters overhead that there were enemy combatants in the area whose description matched those of the men on the motorcycle.

The Army, which court-martialed Lorance, painted a different picture, arguing that he had ordered the murder of unarmed men who posed no threat, in violation of the military's rules of engagement. This, prosecutors argued, was of a piece with Lorance's character. The Washington Post relates one incident described in the charging documents in which he threatened the Afghan man who owned the property next to his base, warning that "if there is enemy activity on your land, we will shoot and kill you, your family and your kid."

The Fayetteville Observer describes the testimony of two of Lorance's soldiers, who took the stand at his trial this week

Pfc. James Skelton said he spotted the motorcycle and told Lorance what he saw. Skelton said he didn't see any weapons on the men or any other signs they were hostile. Lorance didn't ask him for any more information about the men before ordering Skelton to shoot them. Skelton fired two rounds that missed.

"There was not a reason to shoot at that time," Skelton said.

Pvt. David Shilo, who was manning a machine gun in the turret of a gun truck supporting the patrol, said he saw the men stop and get off the motorcycle after the first shots were fired. Soon after, he said, Lorance called over the radio and ordered him to shoot them. That was the only reason he opened fire, Shilo said.

"I was given a lawful order," said Shilo, whose machine gun fire killed two of the Afghans. "My life wasn't threatened at the time."

Skelton said he would normally be the soldier in the platoon to search the bodies and scene after any deaths. But Lorance had two other soldiers search the men and later told superiors the unit hadn't had time to search them before family members retrieved the bodies, Skelton and others testified. Skelton said Lorance directed another soldier about what to tell superiors so there wouldn't be an investigation because Lorance worked in the brigade's tactical operations center before taking command of the platoon.

The soldiers who searched the Afghan bodies said they found an ID card, three cucumbers, pens, scissors, a flashlight and other small personal items, but no weapons, radios or cellphones.

Lorance's mother, who lives near the Collin County hamlet of Farmersville, has pushed back strongly against this official narrative, proclaiming her son's innocence and blasting the military for prosecuting a decorated soldier for protecting his men. Her grassroots PR campaign won some sympathy for her son's cause.

That wasn't enough, however, to sway the jury at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, which convicted him yesterday of two counts of murder and sentenced him to 20 years in prison. The sentence brings with it Lorance's dismissal from the Army where, according to his family, he planned to serve for another decade.


Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
145 comments
gormanbud
gormanbud

What I think is odd is in face this "threat"  the leader HAD to order his men to fire.  All this with only a very short time "in the field" and no combat experience.  

These experienced troopers did not fire at the three individuals and even testified they did NOT feel  threatened.  They did NOT  back up his side of the story.  Should that be considered when making a decision regarding his state of mind.   

In a military as large as ours, my guess is, there are more then a few unbalanced people.  This guy might have been one.  Even during war murder can still be a crime.  

DebraLeCompte
DebraLeCompte

Military justice is a game of political correctness, OERs, power mongering, and an example of what is wrong in our military.  It also is known for depriving the best sons and daughters of our country of the constitutional rights they put their lives on the line for.  Leadership is the problem here. 

DebraLeCompte
DebraLeCompte

I have too often known first hand of miscarriage of justice in the military, especially at Ft. Bragg.  I would not trust the convening authority to find truth and justice for my dog.

barry1817
barry1817

so according to the idiots in Washington our troops are to take the first bullets and hope not to be dead before being able to return fire.

Put everyone that voted to convict this man in the war zone, and because they are probably liberal as well, give them no weapons but let them patrol the areas and maybe they wont come back alive and that would be what might be called a start to solving this nonsense.

txpowell
txpowell

Disgraceful.  The military should not be second guessed in-theater. It is absolutely unforgivable, and if the admin, the suck-as CIC, the pathetic SecDef continue, there will be no one left to volunteer to defend us.  For this very reason.  And you GD pathetic excuse for a human, waste of cells, who are celebrating this, there is a special place in hell for you.

wishyouwerehere
wishyouwerehere

Thank goodness...another schizo paranoid thinking he's at the play station out of the way for good.  Pathetic...

eavesm
eavesm

Rules of engagement that these guys have to wade through is a joke.  By the time they would have figured out the difference between an armed civilian approaching them would have meant death.  This is just demoralizing trickery on behalf of the new communist leaders of Obama's military where gender confusion is held in higher esteem than the safety of the men.

Threeboys
Threeboys

The current problem driving this issue is America has been told over and over that we are not at war with Muslims, but they are still at war with us.

darthur11
darthur11

Prosecution is so very easy in the military and even easier now since Obama has these 'no win ROE's in place for OUR soldiers. I have NO idea who the attorney was who helped this soldier but it was the wrong one! It should NEVER be a JAG officer because they WORK for the military. The family should retain a civil-military attorney....someone who is well versed in military legal. This soldier got a bad rap and I believe he's innocent. Great....prosecute our own while the enemy goes scot-free...isn't that what happened at Ft. Hood? I guarantee this soldier SAVED American lives by doing what he did! The whole outcome is disgusting and I no longer believe in our system for our soldiers.....not with Obama and Holder in as so called 'leaders'.

ruddski
ruddski

We're told by Muslims that they love death more than we love life, what's the problem?

Just-Sharon
Just-Sharon

So much fun to get your war mongers so riled up. So go back to rationalizing murder amongst yourselves.  And remember to change your tampon frequently before Daddy comes over.  Now, I have got to get back to some real men of action that have it going on UP and DOWN stairs. 

Have fun war mongering!

bigkentillery
bigkentillery

@DebraLeCompte Did you actually serve? What was your MOS and what unit? I held two MOS in the Army Cav Scout and Indirect Fire Infantryman (Mortar specialist.) Plus, I did serve at Fort Bragg during my first three years. 1. Like gormanbud's statements I do wonder why the PFC who took the shot said he didn't feel there was any danger, but took it any way. Then I see his statement as knowingly following an "Unlawful Order." 2. If there were NO radio's or cell phones found, then it looks to me like there was no threat.


I mention I was a Cav Scout because every Artillery Man, Indirect Fire Infantryman, Every Cav Scout, and Forward Observer knows, your radio is your weapon and if there is no way for your Scout or FO to contact with the Artillery or Mortar unit, there is no danger.


In addition, if you served you should know the jury is made up of active military who served and like a civilian court have to come up with a 100% decision.

bigkentillery
bigkentillery

@barry1817 If you knew anything about the Military you would know every one from the Judge down to the defense attorney and DA, including the jury are active military. In addition, The jury would be made up of soldiers who have served in combat. If all twelve did not serve in combat then it was the fault of his defense attorney. Washington had nothing to do with it. His own men testified there were no radios, cell phones, or other forms of communication.


Even if they were possible spies who would go back and tell what they saw, it would have been preferred to bring them back alive for questioning, to find out who they were reporting to and where they would have gone.


If they found a radio, cell phone, etc..... then I am sure the jury would have found him innocent.

sschoemann
sschoemann

@wishyouwerehere 

YOU are the paranoid Schizophrenic that is pathetic. Did two innocents die? POSSIBLY  BUT if our pussies in charge  had not kept our troops hamstringed these hajis would KNOW not to approach them without reason and standing showing they are unarmed.   If there was a good amount of fear or RESPECT in place, there wouldnt BE civillians being mistaken as armed opponents. its commonsense that you dont risk your life without reason, and too damned many of our troops are dying at haji's hands because they dont wear uniforms.

bassurl
bassurl

Are you serious? Are you that blind. Take it from a soldiers stand point and then see what you say. Until then shut your mouth. I can tell you that 99% of the soldiers around me and myself would do the same thing. People like you are a menace to the society. Absolute idiot. Have no respect for soldiers, always have a stupid excuse no matter what. Spend a little more time listening to Obama's bullshit

bassurl
bassurl

To "wishyouwerehere" are you being serious? Another "schizo paranoid thinking he's behind a playstation" are you honestly that blind and can't see what they are doing. Oh I'm sorry you must not be familiar with any type of military, law enforcement, security jobs. Because last time I checked THEY and I Put ourselves on the front lines to protect others. Dipshits like you. Don't sit here and say he thinks he's in front of the playstation because it doesn't even matter if he does think that. At least he has the balls to be there. If a foreign convoy is approaching you and they fit the descrption of a local active terroist group, is it only right to order an open fire to protect you and others. Selfish people. Seriously, no respect. Take it from a soldiers standpoint and then tell me what you think. Until then, keep your mouth shut.

alongbattle
alongbattle

You need a rope to stretch your neck, you liberal pathetic waste of air.

sschoemann
sschoemann

@eavesm  THATS why we are losing so many troops since Obama became queen

martin.bergemann
martin.bergemann

@Threeboys To understand who is at war with whom, it sometimes helps to double check who invaded whose country. I visit many countries on all continents but I can't see THE MUSLIMS being at war with the US. Sometimes a bit of information is better than to follow popular Hooligan slogans, but I admit, it takes a bit more effort. It's probably breaking news to many, but people living in villages somewhere in Afghanistan or Iraq do have families and children too and most of them live an ordinary life. And they have the right to do so like everyone else.

martin.bergemann
martin.bergemann

@darthur11 If saving American lives is all this mission has been about, then shooting as many Afghan people as possible is the proclaimed solution. It should be noted that it was not Obama who got the US troops involved, but with a distorted sense of reality it certainly is possible to blame Obama or Putin or anyone.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Lisa69Lisa so you get your face punched in on a few of your stupid comments and you go run like a little pussy, figures.  I would love to see you say the things you did here to a soldier.  

tbudri1
tbudri1

@sschoemann @wishyouwerehere 

sschoemann. Can you please explain how the people in charge are making it to where this type of stuff happens? If you could please explain how policy affects this I would appreciate it. 

Secondly, don't you think calling people like this hajis makes you biased? I mean, you are in their country. We all know they had nothing to do with 9/11. And they do not threaten our national security. Please explain, I am just trying to get your insight since you seem like the least disrespectful person on this thread. 

sschoemann
sschoemann

@bassurl 

There are those of us who do understand the difference between reality and tv. AND WE thank you and the rest of the diligent men and women who stand up for those of us who value our freedom and can not be there ourselves. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!

ronnie916
ronnie916

@bassurl wow give me a break he should have  known the diffrence stop trying to stick up for him you sick idiot so it's ok to kill innocent people then do you feel manly?

sschoemann
sschoemann

@martin.bergemann  then you are blind... go read the Quran some time.  It will inform you right out Islam is at war with everyone who is NOT a Muslim. Do NOT try to argue back and foist off any propaganda, I have studied this to death... Islam is set forth to kill all that are not born into islam, it is in black and white in their "holy book"

Threeboys
Threeboys

You conveniently forget WTC 1993, multiple embassy bombings, US military installation attacks, USS Cole.

Not done by one country, but all perpetrated by members of one "religion".

sschoemann
sschoemann

@martin.bergemann  Good Idea, Kill em all let  their Allah give them their 72 Virginians...

After getting nailed by a Daisy Cutter, Osama made his way to the pearly gates. There, he is greeted by George Washington.

"How dare you attack the nation I helped conceive!" yells Mr. Washington, slapping Osama in the face. Patrick Henry comes up from behind: "You wanted to end the Americans' liberty, so they gave you death!" Henry punches Osama on the nose. James Madison comes up next, and says, "This is why I allowed the Federal government to provide for the common defense!" He drops a large weight on Osama's knee.

Osama is subject to similar beatings from John Randolph of Roanoke, James Monroe and 65 other 18th-century American revolutionaries. As he writhes on the ground, Thomas Jefferson picks him up to hurl him back toward the gate where he is to be judged.

As Osama awaits his journey to his final very hot destination, he screams, "This is not what I was promised!"

An angel replies: "I told you there would be 72 Virginians waiting for you. What did you think I said?"

mtkennedy21
mtkennedy21

@martin.bergemann   No, it was Osama who got Afghanistan involved.

We need to get out and let them kill each other. That is the chief Muslim talent

ronnie916
ronnie916

@sschoemann @ronnie916  and mind your own business as well besides i vote as in independent so i don't need no obama fuck up care maybe you do go see one now you idiot

sschoemann
sschoemann

@ronnie916     Shut the hell up you moron, go sit on the Obamacare site and sign up for your "free health care"

tbudri1
tbudri1

@sschoemann @martin.bergemann

Have you ever read any tafsir of the Quran? One mistake a lot of people make is not understanding that just reading the words of the Quran is not enough. There are layers of meanings within each verse. The most important thing is understanding each verse with historical context. Hence the tafsir. 
It's great that you are studying the Quran instead of being ignorant. But you have to look a little deeper. An abridged version of the tafsir of Quran is 30 volumes, each as thick as the Quran. Its a really difficult subject. 
I have seen people transform from being conservative and closed minded coming out of Medina with a Bachelors in Islamic Studies. To being so broad minded and forward thinking after studying the Quran in depth. 
Point being, its not something that can be taken as black and white. Try listening to Nauman Ali Khan. He is a great lecturer of tafsir. 

martin.bergemann
martin.bergemann

@Threeboys @martin.bergemann 
The NSA program of universal spying on each and everyone's in depth communication has received extremely harsh criticism nationally and globally. Now, like never before, all of a sudden a massive threat is being communicated based on information which was reportedly being obtained by intercepting just exactly that type of personal communication.

Coincidence?

Remember the staged toppling of Saddam's statue?
Guess what, I am going to North Africa end of the month for vacation and I am convinced nothing is going to happen now or then. Because if there was a real risk, nothing would be been trumpeted to the world so that the "evildoers" would easily have time to redirect their plans to unknow targets. Isn't Bradley Manning accused for trumpeting such information? Sometimes things are too obviously made for gullible people, so that they happily join the choir to sing the tunes they are supposed to sing.

martin.bergemann
martin.bergemann

@Threeboys That's how many individuals as opposed to THE MUSLIMS (all of them?). A few dozen individuals coming from one religion does not warrant to accuse all members of a religion, not even talking about calling a war on them. Not all Christians are poster kids either, thinking of the Oklahoma bombing, this case here or the weird things happening at Abu Ghraib. However,  stereotypes are always good to paint others in bad colors, to obscure and to distract to feel fine to be on a mission to police the world. Which would require to strictly adhere to values.

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...