'US soldier killed Iraqi teenager after sex'

January 7th, 2005  

Topic: 'US soldier killed Iraqi teenager after sex'

national guardsman who pleaded guilty to killing a 17-year-old Iraqi soldier said he shot the young man after they had consensual sex in a guard tower, a newspaper reported today, citing court-martial records.

Private Federico Daniel Merida, 21, of the North Carolina National Guard, pleaded guilty to murder without premeditation and other charges during a court-martial in Iraq on September 25.

Merida was sentenced to 25 years in prison. He is being held at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Merida, who was born in Veracruz, Mexico, has a wife and toddler son.

Army officials at Forward Operating Base Danger, where the court-martial was held in Iraq, had previously withheld details of the case.

But The News & Observer of Raleigh, North Carolina, reported today that records show Merida and the Iraqi were on guard duty on May 11 in a tower on the perimeter of an army camp near Tikrit in northern Iraq. At around 10.30pm, Merida shot the teenager 11 times with his carbine.

Merida first told investigators the 17-year-old demanded money at gunpoint. Later, he said he killed the boy because he forced him to have sex. In a third interview, Merida said he got angry after the two had consensual sex.

He also pleaded guilty to two counts of giving false statements.

Merida apologised to the victim’s family during the court-martial, records show. “He was a son, a brother, someone very important to them,” he said. “I took someone they loved and cared for.”