A US military panel found a 101st Airborne soldier guilty of three counts of negligent homicide but not guilty of premeditated murder in the deaths of three Iraqi detainees.
Staff Sgt. Ray Girouard, 24, smiled as he hugged his defense lawyer and family members after the verdict was read. He faced up to life in prison had he been found guilty of premeditated murder.
The panel, which deliberated for four hours, also found Girouard guilty of obstruction of justice for lying to investigators and of conspiracy for trying to conceal the crime.
Girouard was accused of telling his soldiers to release detainees they captured during the May 9 raid near Samarra, Iraq, and then shoot them as they fled.
Girouard is the last and most senior soldier from the 101st Airborne Division to face trial in the killings.