Still waiting for Murtha’s apology and censure in the house:
Military prosecutors dropped all charges on Friday against a U.S. Marine accused of involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault in the 2005 shooting deaths of two dozen unarmed Iraqi civilians at Haditha.
The charges against Lance Cpl. Stephen B. Tatum, 26, were dismissed “in order to continue to pursue the truth seeking process into the Haditha incident,” the Marines said in a statement.
Word of the development came as jury selection was about to begin in Tatum’s court-martial on charges of involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and aggravated assault at the Camp Pendleton Marine base in California.
Here is the message from his defense lawyers:
All charges were dismissed with prejudice against LCpl Tatum this morning, on the day his trial was to begin on allegations stemming from actions in Haditha, Iraq on 19 November 2005. The government said it was done to further the truth seeking function. We emphasize that LCpl Tatum will testify truthfully if called as a witness but there is no deal for his testimony. It became clear to the experienced prosecution team that the right thing to do was to dismiss all charges against LCpl Tatum. We believe the evidence shows that LCpl Tatum reacted to an enemy attack the way he was trained to do.
This result is consistent with the recommendation of the Article 32 investigating officer who recommended last summer that no court-martial be held in this case.
JACK B. ZIMMERMANN
KYLE R. SAMPSON
LTCOL MATTHEW W. CORD, USMCR
MAJ JEFFREY V. MUÑOZ, USMC
So now, after years of “investigations” we have five of the eight Haditha Marines exonerated, and SSGT Frank Wuterich and the two officers trials delayed indefinitely.
The case against them has been falling apart for years and they now appear to have come to grips with the simple fact that they have no case. Murtha’s “cold blooded murder” has slowly become “following the rules of engagement,” as it should of been from the beginning. For the remaining defendents not one murder charge is pending.