ATLANTA (AP) The Georgia Supreme Court has upheld the murder conviction of a soldier for participating in the beating, stabbing and incineration of a fellow infantryman.
In an order released Monday, the court unanimously upheld the conviction and life sentence for Mario Roberto Navarrete in the July 2003 slaying of Spc. Richard Davis.
Navarrete, of San Juan, Texas, was one of four former soldiers sentenced in Davis death. The case was featured in a broadcast of the CBS News show 48 Hours, and Navarretes lawyers say it served as inspiration for the 2007 film In The Valley of Elah.
Navarretes attorneys say their client tried to stop the killing, and argued that a Muscogee County trial court made a number of errors when he was convicted in 2006.
But the states high court noted Navarrete was a party to the murder in that he beat Davis, helped burn the body, served as a lookout during the burial and never reported the crime.
The killing took place a day after the five had returned to Fort Benning after serving a six-month tour in Iraq. The veterans had gone out in Columbus to a Hooters restaurant and then a strip club.
Davis, of St. Charles, Mo., got drunk and was kicked out of the Platinum Club. His comrades took him out to the car, went back to drink, then returned, according to court documents. After leaving him for an hour, the other four came outside and began fighting him, according to testimony.
Then they drove him to a wooded area and beat him some more before another soldier, Alberto Martinez, stabbed him.
Navarrete and another soldier tried to intervene but gave up, and Martinez stabbed Davis at least 33 times, according to a summary of the opinion.
The men drove to a convenience store for lighter fluid and matches, then went back to the wooded area to burn Daviss corpse. Several days later, three of the soldiers returned to bury the body, with Navarrete serving as a lookout, according to the summary.
The body was discovered several months later.
Navarrete and Martinez were convicted of murder for the killing and sentenced to life in prison. Jacob Burgoyne was sentenced to 20 years after he pleaded guilty to lesser charges in exchange for his testimony, and Douglas Woodcoff was sentenced to five years of probation on a charge of concealing a death.