Associated Press – 2009-01-23 23:08:33
GI’s Death Called ‘Negligent Homicide’
(January 23, 2009) — An Army investigation called the electrocution death of a US soldier in Iraq a “negligent homicide” caused by military contractor KBR Inc. and two of its supervisors, according to a document obtained by the Associated Press.
An Army criminal investigator said the manner of death for Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth, 24, of Pittsburgh has been changed from accidental to negligent homicide because the contractor failed to ensure that “qualified electricians and plumbers” worked on the barracks where Maseth died, according to the document.
Heather Browne, a spokeswoman for KBR, of Houston, said in a statement that the company cannot comment on the report because it has not seen it.
Maseth died of cardiac arrest on Jan. 2, 2008. The Green Beret, who was electrocuted while taking a shower in his barracks in Baghdad, was assigned to the 5th Special Forces Group at Fort Campbell, Ky.
The document obtained by the AP, dated Dec. 16, said the case was under legal review at the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command headquarters at Fort Belvoir, Va.
Last year, Maseth’s parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Allegheny County, Pa., against KBR. Maseth’s mother, Cheryl Harris, testified on Capitol Hill about electrical problems in military facilities. Since then, the Army has made changes such as creating an electrical code for US facilities in Iraq. At one point last year, the deaths of at least 18 US service members and contractors were under investigation as possible electrocutions.
© 2009 Hearst Communications Inc.
(January 23, 2009) — As of Thursday, at least 4,229 members of the US military had died in the Iraq war since it began in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The latest identification reported by the military:
Turner, Ricky L., Army Pfc., 20, Athens, Ala.
• For a complete, updated list of all US troops who have died in Iraq, see sfgate.com/ZCQ