AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — A military court convicted a Jordanian soldier Monday of killing three U.S. military trainers at a Jordanian air base and sentenced him to life in prison with hard labor. The defendant, who had pleaded “not guilty,” has said he opened fire because he feared the base was coming under attack. As he was led out of the courtroom, 1st Sgt. Marik al-Tuwayha said: “I have all the respect for the king, but I was doing my job.” The three U.S. Army Green Berets were killed Nov. 4, as their convoy waited at the gate to the al-Jafr base in southern Jordan. Jordan initially said the Americans triggered the shooting by disobeying entry rules, a claim that was later withdrawn.
The victims were 27-year-old Staff Sgt. Matthew C. Lewellen of Kirksville, Missouri; 30-year-old Staff Sgt. Kevin J. McEnroe of Tucson, Arizona; and 27-year-old Staff Sgt. James F. Moriarty of Kerrville, Texas. Jordan is a member of a U.S.-led military coalition against Islamic State group extremists in neighboring Syria and Iraq. Jordan hosts troops, including trainers, from the U.S. and other countries as part of the anti-IS battle.