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US Marine Charged With 13 Murder Counts In Haditha Deaths December 22, 2006

Posted by notapundit in Military News, US News.
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CAMP PENDLETON, California (AP)–A Marine Corps squad leader was charged Thursday with 13 murder counts stemming from the killings of 24 civilians in the Iraqi town of Haditha last year, his attorney said.

It is the biggest U.S. criminal case to emerge from the war in Iraq in terms of Iraqis killed.

Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich was charged with 12 counts of murdering individuals and one count of murdering six people by ordering Marines under his charge to “shoot first and ask questions later” when they entered a house, according to charging sheets released by defense attorney Neal Puckett.

Other Marines were expected to be charged.

The Marines, who all belonged to Kilo Company of the Camp Pendleton-based 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines Regiment, have been under investigation since March for the deaths.

The Iraqis were killed in the hours following a roadside bomb that rocked a Marine patrol on the morning of Nov. 19, 2005. The blast killed one Marine and injured two others.

In the aftermath, five men were shot as they approached the scene in a taxi and others – including women and children – died as Marines went house to house in the area, clearing homes with grenades and gunfire.

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