SAN DIEGO — A group of Camp Pendleton Marines will be charged this week in the killings of 24 civilians in Haditha, Iraq, it was reported Tuesday.
Five to eight members of Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment are expected to face counts of murder or negligent homicide, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
They are accused of committing a massacre on Nov. 19, 2005, after a fellow Marine — Lance Cpl. Miguel Terrazas — died in a roadside bomb explosion.
In addition, as many as three officers might face charges for allegedly covering up or not fully investigating the incident. One of them is 31-year- old Capt. Lucas M. McConnell, who was commanding officer of Kilo Company but didn’t travel with the unit at the time, the newspaper reported.
Neal Puckett, who represents Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich, 26, said he learned Monday that charges are coming against rank-and-file members of the squad, the Union-Tribune.
Aside from Wuterich — the senior Marine present during the alleged massacre — others accused include: Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt, 22; Cpl. Sanick Dela Cruz, 24; Cpl. Hector Salinas, 22; and Lance Cpl. Stephen B. Tatum, 25, the Union-Tribune reported.
Several are expected to be charged Thursday, the newspaper reported.
All of the servicemen have insisted they were countering insurgents attacking them from a nearby house. Attorneys have said the civilians’ deaths were the results of a unit simply following the military’s wartime rules of engagement.
About 10 of the dead were women and children who appeared to be killed by rifle fire at close range, according to one probe. Another investigation focused on whether officers attempted to falsify details of the incident.
Originally Posted HERE