Former soldier convicted of assault, acquitted of attempted murder

Posted: Sunday, April 27, 2003

FAIRBANKS (AP) A former Fort Wainwright soldier who shot a Chicago man last year was convicted of misdemeanor assault Friday but acquitted of attempted murder and felony assault.

Ezekiel Benson, 22, faces up to a year in jail. Attempted murder carries a sentence of up to 99 years.

Benson acknowledged shooting Shawn Albright on Aug. 10. The focus of the trial was whether the near-fatal discharge from the .38-caliber pistol was intentional.

Benson testified that he fired only as a reflex when Albright, in Alaska for a wedding, charged him.

Prosecutor Jeff O'Bryant said that the accidental shooting theory was not possible because the bullet entered Albright's chest on the left side of his body and exited at his right armpit. O'Bryant said Benson is significantly shorter than Albright and an accidental shot would have struck Albright much lower in the body.

Public defender Jim Cannon said that if Benson meant to kill Albright, he would have shot him straight on and probably would have fired more than one round.

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