Justice Department Says Former Soldier Should Be Extradited To West Germany
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) _ A U.S. Justice Department attorney has argued that a 24-year-old former soldier should be extradited to West Germany as soon as possible to face a murder charge.
Donald Dale Pentecost III, of Pasco, has been in jail in Spokane since his arrest a year ago.
West Germany is seeking extradition of the former U.S. Army enlisted man at the same time the United States is asking West Germany to extradite Mohammed Ali Hamadi, who is wanted in this country on charges of air piracy and murder in the 1985 hijacking of a TWA jetliner.
Justice Department attorney Robert Higgins denied Monday in U.S. District Court here that there was a relation between the cases. But at an earlier hearing, Higgins said further delay in extraditing Pentecost would increase tensions between the countries.
Pentecost is accused of participating in the February 1986 rape-murder of a woman while he was stationed near Schweinfurt.
Pentecost’s attorney, Roger Clement, argued Monday that Pentecost should not be extradited because his constitutional rights as a U.S. citizen, including due process, have been violated.
The case was based solely on the unsworn, uncorroborated statement of Brian Scott Knight, a U.S. soldier already convicted of the murder, Clement argued.
Knight, who is in federal prison in Leavenworth, Kan., confessed and implicated Pentecost, but later changed his story, Clement said.
Pentecost had been honorably discharged and had left Germany when the murder occurred, Clement said.
U.S. District Judge Robert McNichols got the case on appeal after U.S. Magistrate Smithmoore P. Myers ruled in December that there was probable cause to extradite Pentecost.
McNichols said he would determine if there is probable cause for extradition under a 1979 treaty with West Germany. He said he would rule soon.