A U.S. soldier could spend the rest of his life in prison if a military court finds him guilty of illegally ordering the shooting of two Afghan men while leading a patrol in southern Afghanistan last year.
The court-martial of First Lieutenant Clint Lorance is at a military base Tuesday in North Carolina.
The Army says the soldier is charged with murder after ordering his troops to open fire on the two men on motorcycles as they approached their patrol in July 2012.
The soldier's defense attorney told a local news channel that Lorance's orders were justified due to intelligence information and an attack in the area by the Taliban a day earlier.
The 28-year-old Lorance also faces charges of attempted murder, ordering soldiers to wrongfully shoot into a populated village, making a false official statement and impeding the investigation into the shooting.
His supporters have set up a website called "Defend Our Soldier" to raise money for his defense and increase awareness about his case.