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PREMEDITATION DENIED IN KILLING OF 2 OFFICERS

An Army sergeant on trial for an attack that killed two officers in Kuwait suffered from mental illness for years and could not have planned the incident, defense lawyers told a military jury during opening statements Monday.

Defense lawyer Maj. Dan Brookhart acknowledged Sgt. Hasan Akbar committed the March 2003 grenade and firearm attack, but said he was not capable of the premeditation required for his client to be eligible for the death penalty.

A military prosecutor responded by telling the jury that evidence would show Akbar planned the attack, including his diaries and the disappearance of grenades from a truck.

Prosecutors have previously said Akbar confessed to the fatal assault and told investigators he was worried that United States forces would harm fellow Muslims in the Iraq War.

Akbar is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted first-degree murder and could be sentenced to death if convicted of premeditated murder.

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