WASHINGTON, D.C -

The White House says President Donald Trump has granted a pardon to a former first lieutenant in the U.S. Army convicted in 2009 of killing an Iraqi prisoner.

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says Trump granted clemency to Michael Behenna of Oklahoma.

 

Behenna was convicted in 2009 of unpremeditated murder in a combat zone after killing a suspected al-Qaida terrorist in Iraq. He was paroled in 2014 and had been scheduled to remain on parole until 2024.

Sanders says Behenna's case attracted broad support from the military, Oklahoma elected officials and the public.

She also says Behenna was a model prisoner, and "in light of these facts, Mr. Behenna is entirely deserving" of the pardon.

Behenna offered the following statement after the announcement:

I cannot thank President Trump enough for his act of mercy. I also want to express my sincerest gratitude for the incredible outpouring of support for my family, including Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter, King & Spalding, who handled the matter pro bono, and all those members of the public who wrote letters and sent words of encouragement on my behalf. Although this is a time of great joy for my family, we as a country must never forget Adam Kohlhaas and Steven Christofferson and all those who gave their lives in service of this great nation. They represent the finest of our society, and their families will forever be in our thoughts and prayers.”

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