From Jim Campbell’s article “Update PFC Corey Clagett a living casualty of the Iraq war:”
A Blackhawk helicopter dropped Corey’s squad off on an island consisting of two homes. The squad then approached one of the homes and discovered three military-aged males using two women as human shields. Corey’s squad handcuffed and detained the three men while the squad leader, Staff Sergeant Girouard, radioed Command to report the three detainees. The response was, “Why aren’t these terrorists dead yet?” Girouard held a meeting of the entire squad. He then ordered Corey and another soldier, William Hunsaker, to kill the three detainees. Corey and Hunsaker were coincidentally two of lowest-ranked members of the squad.
Staff SGT. Girouard ordered the men be un-cuffed and told to run. Girouard ordered PFC Clagett and Specialist Hunsaker to shoot the men.
From his Memorandum for PFC Clagett’s clemency Clagett’s attorney Timothy Parlatore writes:
Following the shootings, SSG Girouard took steps to cover up what had happened. SSG Girouard first cut SPC Hunsaker on the face and arm, and then punched PFC Clagett in face. It was clear that SSG Girouard inflicted these wounds on PFC Clagett and SPC Hunsaker “so as to make it appear that the three detainees had attacked [PFC Clagett] and SPC Hunsaker during an escape attempt.”
The allegation that these men were trying to escape gave the appearance of the killings being justifiable. Staff SGT. Girouard threatened his men to stick to the story. Days later an investigation revealed the facts surrounding the incident resulting in PFC Clagett, Specialist Hunsaker, and Staff SGT. Girouard being charged with the deaths.
While detained in Kuwait, Clagett was held in isolation for 23 hours a day. He often went unfed and endured 24 hours of bright lights. Additionally, Clagett was chained and forced to sleep in the fetal position.
PFC Clagett’s family was able to secure a private attorney for him. Days before the trial, his attorney was indicted by the F.B.I. forcing him to turn to a JAG who had never handled a murder case. PFC Clagett agreed to plead guilty to avoid life without parole. He even “provided substantial assistance to the Government in the prosecution of his squad leader who ordered the killings.”
As of June 13th, 2014 Clagett has been held at the U.S.D.B for 7 ½ years – all of which he has spent in some form of solitary confinement. He has spent a total of 8 years incarcerated.
Staff SGT. Girouard, who gave the order, was convicted of a lesser charge and was released from prison in the Fall of 2009, less than 2 yrs into a ten year sentence. Specialist William Hunsaker was released in March of 2013, leaving PFC Clagett as the only one remaining at the U.S.D. Common sense would dictate that PFC Clagett ought to receive similar consideration.
PFC Clagett had a clemency hearing on May 1st of 2014 of which he was denied again for the third time. PFC Clagett has assumed responsibility for his actions. He’s been punished disproportionately compared to the others. Considering this young man has served more time than anyone else involved in this case, it is time this grievous judgment be set right.
If you’d like to mail Corey letters of encouragement and support you can send those letters to:
Corey Clagett #82477
1300 N. Warehouse rd
Ft. Leavenworth, KS 66027