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Soldier: Sergeant from N.C. ordered me to shoot unarmed Iraqi man

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BAGHDAD (AP) -- A U.S. soldier testified today in a field court-martial in Baghdad that a staff sergeant from North Carolina ordered him to shoot an unarmed Iraqi man.

Sergeant Evan Vela, of Rigby, Idaho, says that brought laughs from his superior, who told him to finish the job as the man convulsed on the ground.

Vela wept during his testimony in the court-martial of Alaska-based Army Specialist Jorge G. Sandoval of Laredo, Texas. Sandoval is on trial for allegedly killing Iraqis and trying to cover up the deaths by planting weapons at the scene.

Also charged in the case is Staff Sgt. Michael Hensley of Candler, North Carolina.

Sandoval has pleaded not guilty to five charges, including the April 27 murder of a second unidentified Iraqi man and placing a detonation wire on his body.

Vela says Sandoval was nearby providing security and wasn't present for the May 11th killing about 30 miles south of Baghdad.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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