Marine's Iraq killings trial to go forward
A military judge on Friday refused to dismiss charges against a Marine who led a squad that killed 24 Iraqi men, women and children in the town of Haditha after a bomb killed a Marine.
The ruling cleared the way for a court-martial for Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, the only remaining defendant in the biggest criminal case against U.S. troops to arise from the Iraq war.
Marine Lt. Col. David Jones said attorneys for Wuterich failed to show that two generals who oversaw the case were influenced by a top aide who was disqualified under military policy from giving advice because he had investigated the killings on a previous assignment.
James said it was probably not a good idea for the aide, Col. John Ewers, to have been in the room when the Haditha case was being discussed. But there was no suggestion that his presence influenced the generals or stifled junior attorneys who were present.
"The court must deal with the facts, not mere speculation or conjecture," Jones said.
The 30-year-old Wuterich, of Meriden, Connecticut, is one of eight Marines originally charged with murder or failure to investigate the killings that occurred after the roadside bombing. Six have had charges dropped or dismissed, and one was acquitted.
A trial is scheduled for Sept. 13 for Wuterich on reduced charges of voluntary manslaughter and other crimes in the November 2005 shootings.