Tuesday, March 23, 2010

John Murtha Was Unavailable for Comment

It's a shame he had to go and die before seeing the last of the Haditha Marines he slandered exonerated. It really is. Maybe before his parting he'd have had a valediction and offered an apology for his perfidy.
The defense for the last Marine facing criminal charges in the fatal shooting of 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha in 2005 won a key ruling Tuesday that could lead to the case being dropped.

Lt. Col. David Jones, the military judge, ruled that attorneys for Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich had successfully shown that there was the possibility of what the military calls undue command influence in the decision by a general to send Wuterich to a court martial.

Jones' ruling requires that prosecutors prove beyond a reasonable doubt that no such influence existed or that, while it may have existed, it did not influence the general's decision.

Faced with a similar ruling in the case of another Marine charged in the Haditha killings, prosecutors could not meet the burden of proof to the judge's satisfaction. After losing an appeal, the Marine Corps dismissed charges against Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani.

Jones set a hearing for Wednesday to hear any evidence prosecutors want to present. Maj. Nicholas Gannon, one of the prosecutors, said he was "99.9% sure" that he has no further evidence.
Wuterich, 30, showed no emotion when Jones issued his ruling.

Neal Puckett, one of Wuterich's attorneys, said his client "is in good spirits. He hasn't complained at all. He loves the Marine Corps and wants to make it a career."

Another of his attorneys, Haytham Faraj, said it was to the Marine Corps' credit that Mattis was ordered to undergo cross-examination about the case.

Of eight Marines charged in late 2006 in connection with the killings, six had their cases dismissed and one was found not guilty. Wuterich was the squad leader when Marines began searching nearby buildings after a roadside bomb killed one Marine and injured two.
Yet nobody, including Murtha while he was still alive, has ever offered them an apology.

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