'Fragging' trial parents still reeling after verdictPosted: Updated:
The parents of two Hudson Valley officers killed three years ago while serving in Iraq are still struggling to heal after a military jury last week acquitted the man accused of the killings.
The jury didn't find proof that Staff Sgt. Alberto Martinez detonated a Claymore mine that killed Capt. Phillip Esposito and 1st Lt. Louis Allen in 2005.
"It feels as if we were burying our sons again, both Phillip and Lou," says Joan Esposito, Phillip Esposito's mother.
The families hoped a conviction would let them heal. Instead, they were shocked when the military jury panel cleared Martinez in their sons' murders. Martinez was facing the death penalty, if convicted.
Bob Allen, Louis Allen's father, has a list of ways he feels the odds were stacked in favor of the defense.
He says the judge would not allow testimony to show previous violent tendencies in Martinez's behavior, and says the judge let the defense discredit the prosecution's key witness - the woman who said she gave Martinez a Claymore mine.
Neither family believes anyone will ever be held accountable for the soldiers' deaths.
"Some say the hardest part is having and raising children. Vivian [Allen] and I disagree. The hardest part is burying a child," says Joan Esposito.
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