A Navy SEAL accused of stabbing a wounded ISIS fighter to death during the battle of Mosul has a court date on Friday.
Chief Edward "Eddie" Gallagher will be arraigned at Naval Base San Diego, said Brian O'Rourke, a spokesman for Navy Region Southwest. Gallagher has been referred to a court-martial in connection with the May 3, 2017 incident, when Gallagher allegedly killed the captured ISIS fighter — who investigators estimated was 15 years old — after Iraqi troops turned the fighter over to the SEALs.
Then Gallagher allegedly texted a photo of himself cradling the dead ISIS fighter's head in one hand with his knife in the other along with the message, "I got him with my hunting knife," prosecutors argued at the SEAL's Article 32 hearing in October. Gallagher is also accused of holding his reenlistment ceremony next to the fighter's corpse.
The 19-year Navy veteran is charged with killing the ISIS fighter along with shooting two civilians on a separate occasion, shooting at civilians several times during his deployment to Mosul, and trying to obstruct the investigation into his alleged wrongdoing, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. Drug charges against Gallagher have been dropped.
Gallagher's wife Andrea told Task & Purpose in October that she would be stand by her husband until he is cleared of the "malicious and shameless" charges against him.
"His family, friends, and SEALs, former Marine and Scout Sniper colleagues all stand beside Eddie," Andrea Gallagher said. "Eddie is a hero and we are patiently awaiting the restoration of his good name and reputation."
At Friday's hearing, Gallagher's attorney will argue that the SEAL should be released from four months of pretrial confinement, said his brother Sean Gallagher.
"This process has been nothing less than guilty until proven innocent," Sean Gallagher told Task & Purpose on Thursday. "This is the first time in four months since he was arrested on 9/11 that he will have the ability to refute the incorrect claims that were made about him in front of a judge.
"He's missed Christmas. He's missed Thanksgiving. He has three children that he loves deeply and that miss him sorely. We're asking tomorrow for the Navy to see the error of their ways. He's an exemplary guy. He has four good conduct awards, three medals for valor. He's been awarded sailor of the year, sailor of the quarter – nothing but steady accolades over his exemplary career, and yet they're treating him like a common criminal."
Update: This story was updated on Jan. 3 at 6:49 p.m. with comments from Sean Gallagher.