Fragging trial of National Guardsman begins in N.C.

Posted: Updated:

Opening statements were heard Wednesday in the fragging trial of a National Guardsman accused of murdering two Hudson Valley soldiers.

Staff Sgt. Alberto Martinez appeared before a military judge in Fort Bragg, N.C., for the beginning of his murder trial. Martinez is accused of killing First Lt. Lou Allen, of Orange County, and Capt. Phil Esposito, of Pearl River.

The prosecutor argued that Martinez told other soldiers he wanted to kill Esposito, his superior, and later he realized the threat by detonating a claymore mine that killed the captain and the first lieutenant.

About a dozen of Allen?s relatives gathered in West Point to follow court proceedings on video, but a technical glitch left the family disappointed.

?What we really wanted to hear was what the defense had to say with their opening statement, and because of the down video feed, we didn't get to hear anything,? says Allen?s sister, Laurine Sandstrom.

Martinez?s attorney told jurors that Army investigators rushed to judgment, blaming the defendant for the deaths after hearing that he and Esposito did not get along.

Martinez?s murder trial will continue Thursday, when the first witnesses are expected to take the stand. Allen?s family members say they hope the technical difficulties will be resolved by then so they could continue following the trial.

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