NOT COLD-BLOODED! Haditha Marine Will Not Face Murder Charges!
NOT COLD BLOODED MURDER!
Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich will face lesser charges in Haditha killings.
Lawyers for Marine Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich filed a suit in Federal Court in August 2006 against antiwar democrat Rep. John Murtha for defamation of character.
The alleged ringleader of US troops who killed 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians in 2005 in Haditha will not face murder charges, a US Marines spokesman said.
Sgt Frank Wuterich, 27, will stand trial for voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, dereliction of duty and other charges, officials said.
The decision was made by Lt Gen Samuel Helland, who is overseeing the case.
Sgt Wuterich is the last of four marines to have the murder charge against him dropped.
Another marine, 1st Lt Andrew Grayson, was ordered to face court-martial for making false official statements and other charges.
In another big break for the Haditha defense team, a key Marine witness was granted immunity.
Defend Out Marines has the news:
Marine Corps Sergeant Hector A. Salinas (erroneously identified as a murder suspect by the media for his role at Haditha, Iraq but never charged) has been granted testimonial immunity by the general overseeing the investigation of the so-called “massacre” of 24 Iraqi citizens killed that day.
On November 19, 2005 Salinas, then 21, was a grenadier in a squad of Marine infantrymen from Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines that was ambushed by an Al Qaeda financed and led attack force at Haditha. His four-vehicle convoy was struck by a remotely detonated Improvised Explosive Device that killed LCpl Miguel Terrazas, a 20-year old Texan and wounded two other Marines. Simultaneously their convoy received sustained automatic weapons fire from insurgents hiding in several nearby homes. During the ensuing firefight, the squad killed eight insurgents and 15 civilians that lived in three of the four homes from which the enemy sprang the ambush. An attached Human Intelligence Exploitation Team later identified at least 11 other insurgents involved in the attack who were hired and led by Al Qaeda foreign fighters operating in Haditha.
The civilians died when a four-man fire team led by Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich, then a 26-year old sergeant, stormed the houses with grenades and automatic weapons fire. Before counter-attacking the insurgent strong points, Wuterich, Salinas, and Cpl. Sanick Dela Cruz engaged five Iraqi men fleeing from a nearby car that inexplicably showed up at the ambush site at the same time the IED went off. Dela Cruz, now a sergeant, later testified that Wuterich shot the men down without provocation. Salinas is expected to refute that claim.
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MORE… Democracy Project has analysis on the latest ruling.