Military prosecutors argued this morning that the first soldier accusing of killing a direct superior in Iraq — known as “fragging” during the Vietnam war — told other soldiers he wanted to kill and burn his National Guard officer.
Prosecutor Capt. Evan Seamone told jurors that Staff Sgt. Alberto B. Martinez was frustrated with Capt. Phillip Esposito’s strict oversight of the supply room where Martinez worked. Martinez, a New York National Guard soldier, told another soldier he planned to “frag that (expletive)” before a suspicious blast tore through Esposito’s living quarters, the prosecutor said during opening arguments of Martinez’s death penalty trial.
Esposito and 1st Lt. Louis Allen, also a National Guard officer, were killed when a mine detonated outside their room in 2005.
“There was no soldier who voiced as much hatred for Capt. Esposito as Sgt. Martinez,” Seamone said.
Martinez, 41, of Schaghticoke, Rensselaer County, is accused of planting the anti-personnel mine that detonated on June 7, 2005, in a window just outside the officers’ room at Saddam Hussein’s Water Palace in Tikrit. The officers died the next day. At an earlier hearing in Kuwait, a witness testified Martinez had said twice that he disliked Esposito and was going to “frag” him.