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Investigator recommends court-martial for soldier accused of killing officers

CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait (AP) — A U.S. military investigating officer on Tuesday recommended a court-martial for a National Guard soldier charged with killing two of his superiors in Iraq and raised the possibility of a death sentence.

Col. Patrick Reinert said he found "reasonable cause" to believe that Staff Sgt. Alberto B. Martinez of Troy, N.Y., used an anti-personnel mine and three grenades to kill a captain and a lieutenant in a "personal vendetta."

The deaths of Capt. Philip Esposito and Lt. Louis E. Allen in an explosion at a base in the central city of Tikrit on June 7 is believed to be first case of an American soldier in Iraq accused of killing his superiors.

Reinert said he also found aggravating factors that could allow for capital punishment.

Reinert's recommendation, which came at the end of a two-day hearing in this camp in Kuwait, will be submitted to Lt. Gen. John Vines, the commander of Multi-National Force-Iraq, who will decide whether there is a court-martial. Vines, who is based in Baghdad, reports to the overall commander in Iraq, Gen. George Casey.