Haditha Killings: Last Marine Pleads, Looking at 3 Month Sentence
Haditha has been described as the My Lai of the Iraq War. 24 civilian Iraqis, including women, children and an elderly person in a wheel chair were shot in cold blood when Marines from Kilo Company (3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment)went on a retaliatory rampage after a soldier had been killed by a roadside bomb.
Eyewitnesses disputed the Marines' account. The account by a 13 year old girl who pretended to be dead as the Marines barged in and killed her parents, grandparents and brother is especially compelling. [More...]
Investigations were held. Charges were brought, Charges were dropped. In all, of the 8 charged, 6 cases were dismissed, one went to trial and was acquitted. At least one Marine received immunity for providing evidence against others.
One Marine remained to be tried, Sgt. Frank Wuterich, the squad leader. His trial began Jan. 9 on charges including 9 counts of voluntary manslaughter. (He was originally charged with 12 counts of non-premeditated murder.) Facing a possible 150 year sentence, today he pleaded guilty to dereliction of duty, and pursuant to a plea bargain, will be sentenced to no more than 3 months in jail.
24 innocent Iraqis slaughtered and no one is held accountable.
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