An Army sergeant facing a charge of negligent homicide in the fatal shooting of a popular Afghan physician should not have to face court-martial, a military hearing officer concluded Thursday.
In a strongly worded report, Lt. Col. Alva Hart found in favor of Sgt. 1st Class Walter Taylor on every point, saying there was insufficient evidence to support the charges against him. The shooting — in the wake of a confusing firefight in central Afghanistan — has raised questions about the strict rules of engagement to which U.S. soldiers are held in attempting to minimize civilian casualties.
The findings now go to a senior commander at Taylor’s home base in Bamberg, Germany, where they’re expected to play a substantial role in the decision on whether to drop the charges or proceed to a court-martial.