updated 7/7/2009 7:36:10 PM ET 2009-07-07T23:36:10

A sergeant charged with slaying two U.S. soldiers in Iraq will be tried by a general court-martial and could face a death sentence if he's convicted, Army officials said.

The commander of Ft. Stewart in Georgia, Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo, ordered the military's highest level of court-martial on Tuesday for Sgt. Joseph Bozicevich.

Army prosecutors said 39-year-old Bozicevich of Minneapolis shot Staff Sgt. Darris Dawson and Sgt. Wesley Durbin last fall at a joint U.S.-Iraqi patrol base south of Baghdad. Witnesses at a preliminary hearing in April said Bozicevich opened fire on the soldiers after they tried to counsel him for poor performance.

His defense attorney has said Bozicevich was trying to defend himself.

No trial date has been set.

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