Sunday, May 24, 2009

Contractor abducted and killed in Iraq

The body of contractor Jim Kitterman, 60, of Houston, Texas, was found Friday in the Green Zone after reported missing the night before. According to news reports, Kitterman was found bound and blindfolded, stabbed multiple times, with his throat slit.

Below is a very strange passage taken from the Washington Post which leaves you wondering what is being left out:

American Killed in Baghdad's Green Zone Identified
By Ernesto Londoño and Steve Fainaru, Washington Post, May 23, 2009

A security alert sent by Western security officials in the Green Zone to an American client said Kitterman was apparently abducted Thursday night as he was leaving a shop in the Green Zone. The alert, which was provided to The Washington Post, said his throat had been slit.

The U.S. official said a preliminary investigation suggests the killing might have been a crime of passion.

"Our suspicion is that it was some kind of an argument that went bad," the official said.

'Crime of passion' is a rather bizarre way to describe a thoroughly brutal and horrific murder.

Kitterman was the President of a small construction company, Janus Construction. A colleague reported he had previously served as a chief petty officer in the U.S. Navy. Sincere condolences to his friends and family.

UPDATE I

Five U.S. contractors held in slaying of another in Iraq
CNN, June 6, 2009

Five American security contractors were detained in connection with the killing of another American contractor last month inside Baghdad's Green Zone, sources with knowledge of the investigation told CNN Saturday. [...]

The five suspects knew the victim, a source inside the Green Zone familiar with the investigation said. Both the Iraqi and the Green Zone sources noted that the FBI has been involved in the investigation from the start.

Once the suspects are charged and referred to trial, the case would be sent to Iraq's Central Criminal Court, the Iraqi official said. If that happens, it would be the first time U.S. citizens were tried in Iraq since the United States returned the country's government to the Iraqis.

If it's in fact true that the five American men will be tried under the Iraqi legal system, it's more than likely they'll receive the death penalty.

UPDATE II

I'll continue to add updates to this one post so as to consolidate information. 

Five U.S. contractors held in slaying of another in Iraq - includes video & grainy photos of some of the men
CNN, June 6, 2009 at 6:10 pm

The five men work for Corporate Training Unlimited, sources with knowledge of the investigation told CNN Saturday.

The company was founded by a former member of the Delta Force elite anti-terrorist unit and has been operating in Iraq since 2003, according to its Web site. [...]

Four of the detainees were identified by multiple sources as Donald Feeny, the founder and chairman of the company; his son, who shares the same name; Micah Milligan; and Mark Bridges. The name of the fifth detainee was not immediately clear.

Corporate Training Unlimited website can be found at http://www.ctuconsulting.com/

UPDATE III

The following article includes information from Feeney's wife that all of the men have alibis for the time during which Kitterman was abducted and killed. 

Murray mother's longing for justice may be satisfied
By Matthew D. LaPlante, The Salt Lake Tribune, June 7, 2009

Four years had passed since her son had died in an explosion in Baghdad and Carol Thomas Young was getting no closer to knowing why.

Her lawsuit against the famed special forces operative who had employed her son -- and refused to pay an insurance settlement when he was killed -- had stalled. The Murray mother dropped the suit, saying she would leave Don Feeney's fate in the hands of a "higher court."

Continues with more about missing pay, verbal agreements, and promises not kept, etc. In other words, the usual.

UPDATE IV

A fifth security contractor has been identified as Jason Jones and is said to work for a different company. [ref]

UPDATE V

Some or possibly all of the men have now been released. One article cites "drug offenses" as the basis of two of the arrests. This is proving to be a very strange story.

Iraq police free 3 U.S. contractors
By Ned Parker , LA Times, June 11, 2009

Judy Feeney, the wife of one of the detainees, confirmed that her husband, Donald Feeney Jr., 55, had been released but had no information about the other men, including her son Donald Feeney III, 31.

Judy Feeney said a U.S. Embassy official told the wife of one of the other men that the embassy expected all five Americans to be released soon.
Iraq Clears 5 US Contractors in Killing of American Businessman
By VOA News, Voice of America, June 11, 2009
Iraqi authorities said five U.S. contractors detained last week in connection with the killing of an American businessman have been cleared of his death.

Iraqi officials said Thursday they released three of the American contractors for lack of evidence, but ordered them to post bail due to the ongoing nature of the case. They say the other two Americans remain in Iraqi custody for suspected drug offenses.
UPDATE VI

2 U.S. Contractors Transferred From Iraqi Jail
By Nada Bakri, Washington Post, June 15, 2009
Two Americans arrested this month during an Iraqi investigation into the killing of an American contractor were transferred to a U.S. military facility at the request of Iraqi officials, the U.S. Embassy said Sunday.
According to the article, the two American men who still remain in custody are Jason Jones and Micah Milligan.

References

Green Zone Killing heightens security fears
By Chelsea J. Carter, Associated Press, May 23, 2009

Slain American Led Construction Firm
By Ernesto Londoño and Steve Fainaru, Washington Post, May 24, 2009

Civilian contractor with Ariz. ties killed in Iraq remembered
By Elias C. Arnold, The Arizona Republic, May 25, 2009

Contractor detained in Iraq has history of exploits - includes photo
By Greg Barnes, The Fayetteville Observer, June 9, 2009

Photo source

5 detained in death of Houston contractor
Houston Chronicle, June 6, 2009, caption reads: Family Photo

Photo of Jim Kitterman was found on the web and is intended as "fair use" under Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

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