A former US military contractor who shot and killed a defenseless and handcuffed member of the Taliban walked free today after a judge decided he had been provoked by the Afghan’s brutality. Don Ayala, is a former US Army Ranger who once served as personal bodyguard for President Karzai of Afghanistan and Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister. US prosecutors, who originally charged Alaya with murder, had argued that he acted as judge, jury and executioner and was a cold-blooded killer after Salam had set fire to one of Alaya’s colleagues. The judge decided that probation was warranted under the circumstances and a $12,500 fine. Ayala had pleaded guilty to the voluntary manslaughter of Salam, an undercover member of the Taliban, whom he shot in the temple. Paula Loyd, an anthropologist embedded with the Ayala unit. Loyd’s death was painful she had second and third-degree burns covering 60 per cent of her body, she clung to life for two months before finally dying on January 7 at Brooke Army Medical Centre in San Antonio. US prosecutors argued in court papers that Ayala, 46 acted as executioner, and had the experience and maturity to curb any desire for instant revenge. Ayala wrote in court papers: “I was overcome by the horror of what he had done to her, knowing that she was suffering and that she would never be the same, even if she lived.