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Mother of Edmond Soldier Convicted of Murder Makes Appeal

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First Lieutenant Michael Behenna was convicted of murder by a military court for killing an Iraqi detainee. First Lieutenant Michael Behenna was convicted of murder by a military court for killing an Iraqi detainee.
Michael's mother, Vicki, will go to Washington D.C. to appeal her son's case. Michael's mother, Vicki, will go to Washington D.C. to appeal her son's case.
A Web site has been set up in support of Michael's innocence. A Web site has been set up in support of Michael's innocence.

By Kirsten McIntyre, NEWS 9

EDMOND, Oklahoma -- An Oklahoma mother is on a mission. Her son is now in a military prison for his role in killing an Iraqi detainee. She's not giving up her fight to win his freedom.

Vicki Behenna leaves for Washington D.C. Tuesday and later this week, she'll speak on behalf of her son, Michael. She says until he's out of prison she'll continue to be his voice.

"It's right in our face every day and it will be until he comes home," Vicki Behenna said.

Vicki Behenna says life hasn't been the same since her son, Army Ranger 1st Lieutenant Michael Behenna, was arrested and later convicted last year in the death of an Iraqi detainee.

"It's what we do day in and day out, not just my husband and I, but our very close friends are absolutely consumed by it," Vicki Behenna said.

Behenna, who is also a federal prosecutor, will speak this week at a hearing before the Army's Clemency and Parole Board. She has several goals in mind including asking for a new trial.

"The government's own expert agreed that Michael's version of what occurred was the only logical explanation for the shootings," Vicki Behenna said.

Behenna says her son acted in self defense and the witness was never called to testify.

"If they won't do that I'm going to ask them to substantially reduce Michael's sentence," said Vicki Behenna. "Michael was convicted of unpremeditated murder; the highest sentence anybody has received on unpremeditated murder is 10 years. Michael received a 25-year sentence."

Behenna and her family are also fighting for Michael's freedom on the World Wide Web at defendmichael.com. It is generating support from all over the country. Behenna says the support gives her family hope as they go into the New Year.

"2009 is now over; whatever terrible things happened then is done with and so I do have hope," Vicki Behenna said.

Vicki Behenna and several family members are making the trip to Washington D.C. She says she's unsure how long the board will take before making any decisions on their requests.

Another request Vicki Behenna plans to make to the board is to have her son's sentence suspended while his case is on appeal. The appeal was filed just a few weeks ago.

More on News9.com:
- Petition Asks for New Murder Trial of Oklahoma Soldier
- Mother Fights for Soldier Son's Innocence 
- Preliminary hearing held for Oklahoma soldiers

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