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Marine Accused of Killing Women And Children Strikes A Plea Deal

Braden Holly |
January 23, 2012 | 9:45 a.m. PST

Executive Producer

Marine Corpse Flag. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons. Photographer, Adam Theo.
Marine Corpse Flag. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons. Photographer, Adam Theo.
Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich pleaded guilty to dereliction of duty in a plea deal Monday, putting an end to the case in which he was accused of killing unarmed Iraqi women and children in the town of Haditha.

Other charges against Wuterich were dropped, and the judge has yet to decide what his sentence will be, though prosecutors have recommended three months in the brig, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Wuterich was being tried before a jury of Marines who have served in combat prior to his striking the plea deal.

According to the Associated Press:

Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, of Meriden, Conn., led the Marine squad in 2005 that killed 24 Iraqis in the town of Haditha after a roadside bomb exploded near a Marine convoy, killing one Marine and wounding two others.

Prosecutors said he lost control after seeing the body of his friend blown apart by the bomb and led his men on a rampage in which they stormed two nearby homes, blasting their way in with gunfire and grenades. Among the dead were women, children and elderly, including a man in a wheelchair.

In addition to Wuterich, six other Marines have had the charges against them dropped or dismissed, according to the Associated Press.

It’s hard to say from the outside whether justice was done.  Few people ever enter combat situations, and it is difficult to understand the stress that men and women are under at times like those in Haditha.
However, the killings in Haditha will, for better or worse, likely remain one of the defining moments of the war in Iraq, a black mark on our country’s reputation in the Middle East.



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