Odiase is one of two valedictorians at Fisk University, a historically black college in Nashville, Tennessee.
A preliminary military hearing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington continues today to determine whether then-staff sergeant (now sergeant first class) Michael Barbera should face a court-martial in the March 2007 slayings of two unarmed Iraqi brothers.
The brothers were herding cattle in Diyala Province, near where Barbera’s Army reconnaissance team was hiding. Prosecutors say the boys posed no threat, but that Barbera went down on one knee, pointed his rifle, and killed them anyway.
And there are allegations of a cover-up — two years after the killings, Army criminal investigators looked over the case, and Barbera was issued a letter of reprimand.
It wasn’t until an investigation from the Tribune-Review, a Pittsburgh newspaper, that the Army filed charges against Barbera, who could face life in prison if he’s convicted of premeditated murder.
News Tribune reporter Adam Ashton joins Here & Now’s Robin Young to discuss the case.