The family of a U.S. Army Green Beret who was killed on a friendly base is seeking justice. U.S. Army Staff Sgt. James Moriarty, Jr., was killed in November 2016 at an air base in Jordan. His accused killer, a Jordanian soldier named Ma’arek Abu Tayeh, is also being tried in a Jordanian court-martial for killing two other U.S. soldiers.
The incident occurred when an American convoy was attacked at a checkpoint at King Faisal Air Base, about 150 miles south of the Jordanian capital of Amman. The Green Berets, including Sgt. Moriarty, Staff Sgt. Matthew Lewellen and Staff Sgt. Kevin McEnroe, were working at the base while training Syrian refugees in their fight against ISIS.
A surveillance video shows a Jordanian soldier, reported to be Abu Tayeh, firing an M-16 at the convoy. The video shows the shooter firing more than fifty rounds into the convoy, killing Sgts. Moriarty, Lewellen and McEnroe.
Sgt. Moriarty’s family claims that Jordanian authorities have mishandled case against Abu Tayeh from the start. According to the sergeant’s father, Houston trial attorney James Moriarty, Sr., the Jordanian government first blamed the sergeant and the other two victims for accidentally discharging their weapons on the base, leaving Abu Tayeh to believe that the base was under attack. Jordanian authorities later retracted the statement and placed the full blame for the incident on Abu Tayeh.
Mr. Moriarty and his daughters submitted victim impact statements to the Jordanian court-martial that will hold Abu Tayeh’s trial. Rebecca Moriarty wrote that the shooter’s actions were “murderous,” “deliberate” and “aggressive.” She also wrote that her brother was attempting to de-escalate the situation, as he called out to the shooter in both English and Arabic, “We are Americans! We are friends”
She wrote, “My brother’s last words were ‘friend.’ “