An Army sergeant who killed an officer from Utah and wounded 18 other soldiers in a sniper attack was found guilty Tuesday of premeditated murder and could face the death penalty.
The guilty verdict was unanimous against Sgt. William Kreutzer, whose lawyers had argued that premeditation was not proven.The military panel deliberated for slightly less than two hours before finding Kreutzer guilty of premeditated murder in the death of Maj. Stephen Badger, originally of Salt Lake City.
The panel also found Kreutzer guilty on 18 charges of attempted murder for shooting at his fellow soldiers as they gathered for a morning run.
Because the jurors' finding on the murder count was unanimous, Kreutzer becomes eligible for the death penalty.
Kreutzer had pleaded guilty to Badger's murder before the court-martial, but prosecutors refused to accept the plea and decided to pursue the death penalty by proving premeditation.
Defense attorneys argued that Kreutzer had received mental help in the past and that fellow soldiers ignored threats he had made before the sniper attack.
"Did he have a premeditated design to kill or a plan to do something else, to kill himself or cry for help?" defense attorney Capt. James Martin said in his closing argument. "His cry for help was not answered."