Skip to main content

Army: 'Insufficient evidence' of crime in soldier's electrocution

  • Story Highlights
  • Army: Probe reveals "numerous entities ... breached their respective duties"
  • Pentagon report last month found failures by U.S. military and contractor KBR
  • Family of Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth, 24, is suing military contractor
  • Defense says nearly 14,000 deficiencies in gear and facilities have been fixed
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font

(CNN) -- There will be no criminal charges filed in the death of a Green Beret who was electrocuted in his quarters in Iraq last year, the Department of Defense said Friday.

Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth, a 24-year-old Green Beret, died in a shower at his base in Iraq in January 2008.

Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth, a 24-year-old Green Beret, died in a shower at his base in Iraq in January 2008.

The Army's 11-month investigation "concluded that there is insufficient evidence to prove or disprove that any one person, persons or entity was criminally culpable" in the death of Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth, the Department of Defense said in a written statement.

Maseth, a 24-year-old decorated Green Beret from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was electrocuted in a shower in his Baghdad quarters -- a former palace of deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein -- in January 2008.

"The investigation revealed that there were numerous entities, individuals, both contractors and government employees, who breached their respective duties of care; however, none of those breaches, in and of themselves, were the proximate cause of his death," the Army said.

A report released last month from the Pentagon's inspector general found that Maseth's death stemmed from failures both by the U.S. military and by military contractor KBR.

The company did not properly ground and inspect electrical equipment, the inspector general's report found, while Maseth's commanders failed to ensure that renovations to the building where he was based had been properly done. The Army did not set electrical standards for jobs or contractors.

KBR has said the palace was not properly grounded by contractors when it was built.

The Pentagon report concluded that KBR failed to ground a water pump at the building, and the company did not report improperly grounded equipment during routine maintenance.

Maseth's family is suing the company.

After the Pentagon inspector general's report Sens. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, both Democrats, called on the Pentagon last month to take back more than $83 million in bonuses paid to KBR.

Casey said the Pentagon should fine KBR: "Make it hurt and make it count."

The Department of Defense said there were 18 reported deaths caused by electrocution in Iraq since the war began and that a task force designed to assess fire and electrical safety issues in Iraq was created "after a series of electrical accidents and incidents."

The task force has inspected more than 67,000 of the approximately 90,000 pieces of equipment and facilities in Iraq.

Almost 14,000 deficiencies have been corrected, the department said.

All About KBR Inc.The PentagonU.S. Department of DefenseIraq

  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print