A soldier convicted of murdering an Afghan civilian just left Leavenworth after 8 years — with hope for a Trump pardon


A U.S. Army National Guardsman convicted of murder in the 2010 fatal shooting of an Afghan man was released Monday morning from a military prison at Fort Leavenworth.

As a white van carried Sgt. Derrick Miller to a parking lot at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks, the guardsman's mother, Renee Myers, held an American flag and excitedly said: "Ah, my baby."

"Hey, mom," Miller said as he stepped out of the van after eight years in military prison. He rubbed her back as the two embraced.

Miller's release comes as President Donald Trump is said to be considering pardons for several military members accused or convicted of war crimes, The New York Times reported Saturday.

Miller has been in prison since July 2011 when he was convicted at age 27 of premeditated murder in the death of the civilian, who the military has identified as Atta Mohammed, in eastern Afghanistan.

A native of Frederick, Maryland, Miller was sentenced to life in prison after he was found guilty in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. His term was reduced to 20 years after a hearing in April 2018, according to United American Patriots, a group that works to get clemency granted for troops who say have been wrongfully convicted of war crimes.

Miller was granted parole earlier this year. His Dallas-based attorney, Colby Vokey, is hoping to get him pardoned.At Miller's trial, prosecutors argued Miller took a gun from another soldier, stood over the Afghan man as he was lying down and shot him in the head, the Associated Press reported at the time. Miller has maintained he shot the man in self-defense.

Derrick Miller(Courtesy photo)

As supporters waited for Miller's arrival, Vokey said the man Miller shot made inconsistent statements as he walked through a defensive perimeter. Miller perceived him as a threat to his unit.

Thinking the man was scouting out the unit for the Taliban, Miller questioned him with an interpreter, Vokey said. The man then reached for Miller's gun and Miller shot him during a struggle, his attorney said.

Less than an hour later, the unit was attacked, according to Vokey. Because of the shooting, a platoon sergeant said at one of Miller's hearings, the unit thought the attack was imminent and heightened its security. The sergeant credited Miller's questioning of the man to saving the lives of American soldiers, his attorney said.

The shooting occurred during Miller's third deployment, something he volunteered for, his attorney said.

After leaving the prison, Miller hugged family members. About a dozen supporters sang "God Bless America" and took photographs.

Back in Maryland, Miller will reunite with his two daughters aged 12 and 10. His mother said she planned to cook him a lasagna dinner.

"Hey Derrick, breathe the fresh air," one supporter said.

"I will," he responded.

As for Miller, he hopes the military examines its rules of engagement, which he said allows "Monday morning quarterbacks" to cripple fighters.

"This can happen to anybody," he said.

Leaving Fort Leavenworth, the group planned to go to an IHOP for pancakes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


©2019 The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

SEE ALSO: Top Navy Official Calls Out Government Lawyers For Spying On Legal Team Of Navy SEAL Accused Of War Crimes

WATCH NEXT: The Navy SEAL Accused Of War Crimes In Iraq

That's right, Superman is (at least temporarily) trading in his red cape, blue tights, and red silk underpants for a high and tight, a skivvy shirt and, well, he's still rocking silkies.

Read More Show Less
Photo: Sgt. Raquel Villalona/U.S. Army
U.S. troops rejoice — the midnight curfew for service members in South Korea has been temporarily suspended, as command evaluates if you can be trusted to not act like wild animals in the streets of Pyeongtaek.


Read More Show Less

Late last month Activision's Infinity Ward dropped a teaser trailer for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare — a soft-reboot of one of it's most beloved games — and just two weeks after the May 30 reveal, the game developer unveiled some new details on what's in store for the first-person shooter's multiplayer: Juggernaut and ghillie suits!

Read More Show Less
Members of the Iranian revolutionary guard march during a parade to commemorate the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), in Tehran September 22, 2011. (Reuters photo)

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

Iran says it will exceed limits on its enriched uranium stockpiles agreed in its 2015 nuclear deal, the latest escalation in tensions after the US accused Iran of sabotaging oil tankers last week.

Under the 2015 deal — formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — Iran agreed with the Obama administration and several European states to limit uranium production.

Read More Show Less
REUTERS/Ahmed Kingimi

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) - At least 30 people have been killed in a triple suicide attack in northeast Nigerian state of Borno, state emergency officials said on Monday, in the biggest mass killing this year by suicide bombers.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

Read More Show Less