Haditha Charges Pressed In 2 Cases

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor
New York Times
October 20, 2007
Pg. 6
Haditha Charges Pressed In 2 Cases
By Paul von Zielbauer
BAGHDAD, Saturday, Oct. 20 — A Marine Corps general on Friday ordered criminal charges to proceed to separate courts-martial for a former battalion commander and an enlisted man involved in a battle in Haditha in 2005, in which 24 Iraqis died.
The former battalion commander, Lt. Col. Jeffrey R. Chessani, is accused of failing to accurately report and investigate the killing of the 24 Iraqis by a group of marines under his command on Nov. 19, 2005. He will stand trial on charges that include dereliction of duty, the Marine Corps said.
The enlisted marine, Lance Cpl. Stephen B. Tatum, who had been charged with murder and negligent homicide in the deaths of six civilians in a home after a roadside bomb killed a marine and wounded two others, will be tried on lesser charges: involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and aggravated assault.
Both men, of the Third Battalion, First Marines, will be tried at Camp Pendleton, Calif., north of San Diego. No trial date has been set in either case.
The decision to forward the charges against the two marines to courts-martial was made by Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis, the commander of Marine Corps Forces Central Command. General Mattis followed the recommendation of the Marine officer who presided over the evidentiary hearing for Colonel Chessani, but went against the advice of the investigator who examined the evidence in Corporal Tatum’s case and later recommended dismissing all charges.
Kyle R. Sampson, a lawyer for Corporal Tatum, said, “Referring this case to trial imperils every young marine and soldier who faces a split-second decision in combat.”