Verdict in 'fragging' trial shocks victims' families

Posted: Updated:

The 'fragging' trial of Staff Sgt. Alberto Martinez, accused of killing two Hudson Valley officers in Iraq, came to a close Thursday with a not guilty verdict, leaving the victims? families shocked and disappointed.

Martinez was facing the death penalty in the court-martial, accused of detonating a Claymore mine that killed Capt. Phillip Esposito and 1st Lt. Louis Allen in 2005.

"They've just legalized murder," said Capt. Esposito?s second cousin, Joe Mancini, in reaction to the acquittal.

The relatives of both soldiers watched the trial on a video feed at West Point. When they heard the jury panel announce the verdict, tears and expressions of disbelief erupted in the room.

?They didn't even consider a lesser charge, for God's sake,? said Kathy Krause, Lt. Allen?s aunt.

Lt. Allen's mother expressed great disappointment with the military justice system, saying in a statement that the jury panel murdered her son all over again.

Martinez's family also released a statement, saying: "Our sympathies go out to the families of the victims. This has been a very difficult process for everyone involved, and we are happy to be back together again as a family."

Martinez?s military service has been reportedly completed, and he has been discharged from the National Guard.

Closing arguments heard in fragging trial

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