The jury took a half-hour to find Sgt. Duane M. Grubb not guilty. He is the third soldier from the Cincinnati-based 377th Military Police Company to be acquitted of striking and otherwise abusing detainees at the Bagram prison.
Grubb, 30, fought back tears and hugged his crying wife after hearing the verdict.
"I'm just glad that it is over," said his wife, Violeta.
Six soldiers from the company have been charged in an abuse investigation prompted by the deaths of two other detainees at the facility in 2002.
Grubb was accused of striking Zarif Khan, an inmate soldiers mockingly called "Timmy," after a disabled character on the cartoon "South Park." Khan, who was released from custody and could not be located to testify, was described during the court-martial as retarded.
Grubb, who had been accused of assault, maltreatment and making a false statement, testified that he never struck Khan. And his lawyer argued that the government's sole eyewitness, former Spc. Jeremy Callaway, contradicted his own testimony.
The defense attorney also questioned why Callaway was the only person to see the alleged abuse when other soldiers would have been in the area when it occurred.
Grubb said he plans to leave the Army and go back to his civilian life as a construction foreman in Bloomington, Ind.
By Alicia A. Caldwell