STOCKTON (CBS13) -– Already grieving over the loss of their son, a Stockton family grew more upset Monday with the defense tactic of the accused killer’s lawyer.
Spc. Neftaly Platero is accused of killing his two roommates, including 20-year-old John Carrillo of Stockton, in Iraq last year and wounded a third roommate. He made his first court appearance on Monday at Fort Stewart in Georgia.
In court, Platero’s attorney claimed forensic evidence will clear his client of killing Carrillo and Pfc. Gebrah P. Noonan. He argued Platero didn’t have blood or gunpowder residue on him. But both the dead soldiers did, implying that Carrillo may have also played a part.
An insult to a family still grieving.
“He would never do anything like that,” Carillo’s father John Sr. said. “I’m angry, I’m sad, disappointed.”
Platero appeared Monday before a military judge at Fort Stewart for his arraignment in connection with the Sept. 23, 2010, shootings. The soldier deferred making a plea until a later hearing. But his civilian lawyer, Guy Womack, told The Associated Press after Platero’s brief appearance that the 33-year-old soldier didn’t shoot anyone.
Fort Stewart’s commander, Maj. Gen. Robert Abrams, has decided not to seek the death penalty in a move that angered the Carillo family. Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson said Abrams reached his decision last week “based on the evidence presented by legal counsel” to the general.
“His arms and hands were completely clean and free of any gunshot residue” after the shootings, Womack said. “We know for a fact there was no blood on him at all and nothing tying him in any way to having fired a gun.”
John’s father said there’s a good reason his son would have gunpowder residue on his hands.
“Wasn’t it a small room?” he asked, “so wouldn’t the gunpowder go everywhere?”
Monday’s legal twist tugged on the emotions of the family once again, but his father said the toughest part of losing john is knowing his sons won’t have the father they deserve.
Carrillo leaves behind 4-year-old and 1-year-old sons.
Platero is tentatively scheduled to stand trial by court martial Feb. 6, the judge said Monday. He faces a maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole.
Noonan’s father, William Noonan, said after leaving the courthouse Monday that he questions whether the Army is serious about prosecuting Platero.
“What’s wrong with the Army? What kind of example does that set?” he said.
(The Associated Press contributed to this story)