Marines to be charged with murder
A Marine Corps squad leader was charged Thursday with murdering 12 people and ordering Marines under his command to murder six other people during an incident that left 24 civilians dead in the Iraqi town of Haditha last year.
The squad leader was one of eight Marines charged in the biggest U.S. criminal case involving killings to arise from the war in Iraq. The others included four officers accused of failures in investigating and reporting the incident, the Marine Corps said.
The highest ranking defendant, Lt. Col. Jeffrey R. Chessani, was accused of failing to obey an order or regulation, encompassing dereliction of duty.
The squad leader, Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich, 26, was charged with unpremeditated murder of 18 Iraqi civilians, including six people inside a house members of his squad cleared with deadly force. Wuterich also faces a charge of making a false official statement and a charge of soliciting another sergeant to make false official statements.
Sgt. Sanick P. Dela Cruz was accused of the unpremeditated murders of five people and making a false official statement with intent to deceive.
Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt was accused of the unpremeditated murder of three Iraqis.
Lance Cpl. Stephen B. Tatum charged with the unpremeditated murders of two Iraqis, negligent homicide of four Iraqi civilians and a charge of assault upon two Iraqis.
In addition to Chessani, officers charged in connection with how the incident was investigated or reported included 1st Lt. Andrew A. Grayson, Capt. Lucas McConnell, and Capt. Randy W. Stone.
There has been some discussion lately of a change in the Rules of Engagement. I doubt that will happen and incidents like this are why.