A young US soldier admitted on Monday that he was guilty of killing an Iraqi officer two years ago in Iraq and had tried to cover up the case by injuring himself.
Dustin Berg, a member of the Indiana National Guard, told the court at the military base of Fort Knox, Kentucky, that he felt guilty about shooting Hussein Kamel Hadi Dawood al-Zubeidi, a Iraqi security officer while they were on patrol together in November 2003.
The 22-year old corporal is facing a 18-month jail term and will be expelled by the Army for bad conduct.
In earlier investigations of the case, Berg had insisted that he shot Zubeidi in self defense, saying the Iraqi had pointed a rifle towards him and warned him not to report insurgent activities to the superiors.
In a hearing in May, the US soldier said he thought his life was threatened by Zubeidi at the time and denied any wrongdoing.
But on Monday, Berg pleaded guilty, admitting that he had invented the whole story and may have "acted too quickly".
After killing the Iraqi officer, Berg confessed, he shot himself with the dead man's rifle in an attempt to cover up the crime.
He was then sent to a hospital and was even awarded a Purple Heart medal from the military for "heroic acts" in Iraq.
Eventually, prosecutors found loopholes in his story and began the investigation.
The case is the latest of over a dozen court-martials of US soldiers for killing innocent Iraqis.
So far, at least eight US soldiers have been convicted or have pleaded guilty to charges related to deaths of Iraqis.