Marine Acquitted in Charges Related to Haditha Killings

1st Lt. Andrew Grayson was acquitted yesterday by a military juy on charges he covered up information from the Haditha killings.

He was accused of telling a sergeant to delete photographs of the dead from a digital camera and laptop computer.

Grayson, of Springboro, Ohio, was acquitted of two counts of making false official statements, two counts of trying to fraudulently separate from service and one count of attempt to deceive by making false statements. He would have faced as many as 20 years in prison if convicted of all counts.

Grayson was the first to go to trial. Other trials will follow. [More...]

Four enlisted Marines initially were charged with murder and four officers were charged with failing to investigate the deaths. Charges were dropped against five of the Marines.

Still to face court-martial are [Staff Sgt. Frank ]Wuterich, of Meriden, Conn., whose charges include voluntary manslaughter, and Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani, of Rangely, Colo., who has been charged with dereliction of duty and violation of a lawful order on allegations he mishandled the aftermath of the killings.

Wuterich was originally charged with 12 counts of murder.

Two dozen Iraqi men, women and children were killed in in the 2005 Haditha raid in Iraq. Four marines were charged with murder, and several more with other crimes.

In 2007, the Washington Post obtained eyewitness accounts indicating Marines gunned down unarmed Iraqis after the 2005 roadside bombing.

Here's more background and all of our posts on Haditha are accessible here.

There were two live children found among the dead. Survivor accounts are here.

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    This looks like a slam dunk for the board. (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by wurman on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 05:14:03 PM EST
    If the lieutenant had standing orders that images of the dead are forbidden, then his actions must have seemed obvious to the members of the court martial board.

    Destroying digital images of dead civilians did not eliminate evidence because there was already no doubt that civilians had been killed.  It strains my imagination to figure out why it may have been useful to retain images of dead people, against standing orders, when everyone connected to the situation was well aware that there were 24 dead civilians.

    Reading the five accusations, without the actual UCMJ violations listed, seems silly on the face of it.

    two counts of trying to fraudulently separate from service

    From Associated Press, via WTOP Radio (link):
    Grayson's life was thrown into turmoil. He was barred from leaving the Marine Corps until the case was adjudicated. He had been scheduled to get out in June 2007.

    This charge is nonsensical "throw the book" by prosecutors who had little else to work with.

    It reminds me of ye ancient & honorable New Yawk City 3rd degree vagrancy charges, often added in with robbery, carrying a weapon & mopery.  Grayson was due to get out, so when he tried to get out the prosecutors claim he violated Article 84 because he should have known that he was under investigation & pending court martial--which would have made him ineligible to get out, had he known about it & besides he knew we were investigating anyway . . . .

    I've not been around UCMJ stuff for a long time, but this looks like one of those situations where the prosecution would have to have proved that something that violates The Code actually took place before accusing an officer of covering it up.  Cart meet horse.

    And, finally, how can the defendant make false statements, or lie, about an event that he had absolutely nothing to do with & wasn't even there.  This whole court martial makes no sense.

    This particular case is not actually about what happended at Haditha.  It's an effort to prove that there was a cover-up & then reach higher into the command structure with prosecutions.

    Apparently, the reach fell way short.

    They're Aliiiiiiive! (4.50 / 2) (#1)
    by QuakerInABasement on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 02:26:19 PM EST
    Since no one murdered the victims, they must still be alive, right?

    I mean, it's either that or those unarmed women and children had it coming.

    As TL is staunchly a criminal defense site, (3.00 / 2) (#2)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 02:39:04 PM EST
    shouldn't we be congratulating the defense?

    Is this the kind of justice situation which ICC (3.00 / 2) (#4)
    by jawbone on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 02:57:59 PM EST
    (International Criminal Court) was set up to ajudicate? A situation where the country with responsibility for bringing charges somehow can't find it within their judicidal system to find guilt for certain crimes?

    Last time I checked (none / 0) (#9)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 05:21:27 PM EST
    we haven't signed up with ICC.

    Of course your man Obama may decide to trash the Constitution and do so.


    Congrats... (none / 0) (#3)
    by Maise7 on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 02:42:50 PM EST
    They got away with it...IMO.

    What a horror, and yet what happened in (none / 0) (#6)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 04:40:15 PM EST
    Haditha that day and the story making it to press changed so much.  I was really shocked when a Major said to me at his farewell party about a week ago that anything went in Iraq that first year and a half.  My husband didn't come home okay from that first tour though he is alright now.  More mature, nothing wet behind his ears other than the occassional sweat.  There were fights though in Iraq and a few soldiers refusing to fire in certain situations while others went in blazing for anything and everything and the Bush administration didn't care one way or the other.  They unleashed white phosphorous on Fallujah and things were in general NUTS and then photos of children with bullet holes in their skulls changed a lot of things.  There's rules now for everyone to follow in the combat zones, two years too late in my opinion but there are rules now.  It took carnage beyond the American imagination to find its way to the American media but it did and I know there is a win in there somewhere but I can't find it very well yet.  I suppose there's too much blood on everything.

    WellTracy (none / 0) (#8)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 05:19:17 PM EST
    It is nice to see you still here with your "military" background bad mouthing the troops.

    Let's look at a few things.

    1. Rules of Engagement existed from day 1. The Major, if he actually exists, knows that, and if he has knowledge of anyone breaking them then he is duty bound to bring them forward.

    2. There always situations were some soldiers freeze and others don't. But what does "others went in blazing" mean? Are you now an expert on house to house combat? No? Didn't think so.

    3.So you think they used white phosphorus? I have seen no proof and I don't think you have. But speaking frankly, so what? War is hell and the point is to win. We lost 58,000 in Vietnam because of such blathering claptrap about what weapons to use.

    So keep up the good work. Nothing like dissing the troops to work an appetite, eh??


    No white phosphorus? (none / 0) (#10)
    by bobbski on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 08:24:21 PM EST

    BBC News Link

    Wednesday, 16 November 2005, 11:25 GMT

    US troops used white phosphorus as a weapon in last year's offensive in the Iraqi city of Falluja, the US has said.

    I would think that before you make an absolute statement regarding the US use of white phosphorus in Faluja, you would at least avail yourself of The Google.  In that way you wouldn't look quite so uninformed.


    Perhaps you missed (none / 0) (#11)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 09:21:12 PM EST
    the last part of my comment.


    But speaking frankly, so what? War is hell and the point is to win. We lost 58,000 in Vietnam because of such blathering claptrap about what weapons to use.
    (emphasis added)

    And I will give myself an F for not noting that my comment was in regards to Tracy's claims that we were attacking children.

    Now go worry about the health and welfare of our enemy. I'll continue to worry about our trooops.


    PPJ same as he ever was (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 06, 2008 at 07:24:00 AM EST
    Telling the Truth = Bad mouthing the troops.  A very undemocratic principle......lying about war atrocity to create the desired national will, loyalty, and dedication.  Yawn..........whatever, I'm a different sort of active duty family member.  I don't mind having to actually have to earn and be accountable for the back slapping.

    Wasn't it Sherman who said (none / 0) (#15)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Jun 07, 2008 at 12:42:06 AM EST
    "War is hell."

    The winners write the history, not the losers.


    PPJ doesn't seem to have much (none / 0) (#14)
    by rhbrandon on Fri Jun 06, 2008 at 08:16:24 AM EST
    patience with the law of war. Nor with noncombatants.



    War has one rule. (1.00 / 0) (#16)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Jun 07, 2008 at 12:43:48 AM EST

    In  this case, all the non-combatants were given an opportunity to leave.


    I repeat (none / 0) (#18)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Jun 07, 2008 at 11:29:27 PM EST
    In this case non-combatants were told to, and given ample time to leave.


    You are a funny man.

    Enjoy this one.


    Yawn (1.00 / 0) (#20)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jun 08, 2008 at 09:29:28 AM EST
    Yawnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn (none / 0) (#22)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jun 08, 2008 at 02:02:32 PM EST
    Please, you are boring me to death.

    Snoreeeeeeeee (none / 0) (#26)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jun 08, 2008 at 08:37:03 PM EST
    yadda yadda yadda (none / 0) (#32)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jun 09, 2008 at 02:41:46 PM EST
    yawnnnnnnn (none / 0) (#36)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jun 09, 2008 at 10:46:57 PM EST