SAN DIEGO — The case of a Navy SEAL accused of war crimes is now in the hands of a jury. Monday afternoon a jury of five Marines, and two Navy men began to weigh the fate of Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher.
News 8's Richard Allyn spoke to a former Judge Advocate General - or JAG - about the unique workings of a military trial.
"You couldn't really ask for more if you were a combat veteran - being judged by people who served in combat,” said San Diego criminal defense attorney Douglas Brown is a former JAG.
He says active duty military members on the jury - all of whom have served in combat - have a unique perspective
"They know the pressures, they are familiar with PTSD, they know the pressures of being in combat and they also know what the moral and legal values are in the military commiunity,” said Brown.
In this case, Gallagher is accused of fatally stabbing a wounded teenaged ISIS fighter in the neck as well as shooting at Iraqi civilians and threatening fellow SEALs to prevent them from reporting him.
It is a highly unusual case according to Brown.
"A very elite unit having disparate opinions as to whether someone committed a crime - you don't see the SEAL community fragment like this,” he said.
Brown says that having active duty combat veterans decide this case is better than using a jury of civilians.
"Let's face it, the civilians aren't really going to appreciate the pressures and the trauma of combat but these gentlemen will,” he said.
Brown also says he expects the court members to come to a verdict relatively quickly.
"I think a lot of them are going to have a gut reaction,” he said. “So, I don't expect deliberations to take a long time.”
Deliberations in Gallagher’s trial are scheduled to resume Tuesday morning.