WASHINGTON, D.C. - The father of a Clermont County soldier captured and killed during the Iraq War said he urged an Iraqi judge at a hearing Tuesday to fully prosecute the insurgent charged in his son's death.
"I made it clear to the judge that I feel this guy needs to be held accountable under Iraqi law," Keith Maupin said after the hearing. "If Matt's death can benefit the Iraqi people by ensuring a strong justice system, it will be worth it even though he is gone."
Maupin, 63, of Union Township, participated by video teleconference from the Pentagon in the case of a man whom U.S. officials say confessed to killing Master Sgt. Matt Maupin. The 20-year-old was captured when insurgents with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms overran his fuel convoy near Baghdad in 2004.
At the time, video showed MSgt. Maupin sitting on the floor surrounded by masked gunmen. The soldier's family held hope he was still alive, but Maupin's remains were later found in a shallow grave near Baghdad in 2008.
On Tuesday, the initial hearing in the case was closed to reporters. Maupin said he spoke via translator to the Iraqi judge, who asked to hear statements from the family. Maupin said he came away from the hearing feeling confident that justice will be served.
"This changes my mind a little bit in the Iraqi system because I know that it works," Keith Maupin said. "If this guy can be brought to trial and tried through Iraqi court and sentenced through Iraqi law, I'll be a happy camper and I think that'll make me feel better, not that the guy would be killed, but for the Iraqi people. They now have a justice system that works."
The judge did not indicate how he might rule or when, but that the man will be punished if found guilty, according to Maupin.
The man in Iraqi custody was not present at the hearing.
According to Iraqi authorities, the man is Iraqi and initially confessed to Maupin's killing in 2009, when he was tried and sentenced to death. But he is being retried due to problems in the initial paperwork.