An Army investigator is reported to have recommended seeking the death penalty against four U.S. soldiers accused of murdering Iraqis.

The Associated Press says the recommendation by Colonel James Daniel will be forwarded to Army officials for a final decision.

The news agency says it has obtained a report in which the Colonel concludes the slayings were premeditated and warranted the death penalty, based on evidence he heard at an August hearing.

The four soldiers, part of the 101st Airborne division, are accused of killing three Iraqi men during a raid near Samarra on May 9. The soldiers have denied any wrongdoing, and have said they were following orders to kill all military age Iraqis they encountered on their mission. Their commanding officer denied issuing such an order.

Some information for this report provided by AP.