US Marine who massacred 24 women and children gets 3 months
A Marine accused of killing unarmed Iraqi women and children pleaded guilty Monday to dereliction of duty in a deal that will mean a maximum of three months confinement and end the largest and longest-running criminal case against U.S. troops to emerge from the Iraq War.
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. Wuterich’s former squad members testified that they did not take any gunfire during the 45-minute raid on the homes or find any weapons.
It was a stunning and muted end to a case once described as the Iraq War’s version of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam.
The incident in Iraq is considered among the war’s defining moments, further tainting America’s reputation when it was already at a low point after the release of photos of prisoner abuse by U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison.
Eight Marines had been charged with killing the Iraqis, with Wuterich facing the possibility of life behind bars. In the end, the seven other Marines were acquitted or had charges dropped.