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Accused Of Shooting Iraqi Boys, Soldier To Plead To Lesser Charge

[asset-audio[{"description": "", "fid": "98814", "uri": "npraudio://201411/20141120_PM_JBLM.mp3"}]]An Army sergeant who faced two counts of premeditated murder announced via Twitter he will plead guilty to a lesser charge at Joint Base Lewis-McChord Thursday.

Sergeant 1st class Michael Barbera says he will plead guilty to communicating a threat.

Barbera was on a 2007 reconnaissance mission in Diyala Province when Army prosecutors say he shot two unarmed Iraqi boys herding cattle. At the time the killings were not reported to commanders.

Eventually some of Barbera’s fellow troop members told their story to a Pittsburg newspaper reporter who published an investigative story about the shooting. 

According to Army prosecutors, Barbera made threatening calls to the reporter’s home. 

The Army dropped murder charges against Barbera after a hearing last spring and later dropped obstruction charges during plea negotiations. As a result Barbera is expected to plead guilty Thursday to the remaining charge of communicating a threat.

Barbera could face up to eight years in confinement.