Marine Investigator Recommends Dropping Charges in Haditha Killings
An investigating officer has recommended dismissing murder charges against a U.S. Marine accused in the slayings of three Iraqi men in a squad action that killed 24 civilians in the town of Haditha, according to a report. The government's theory that Lance Cpl. Justin L. Sharratt had executed the three men was "incredible" and relied on contradictory statements by Iraqis, Lt. Col. Paul Ware said in the report, released Tuesday by Sharratt's defense attorneys.
"To believe the government version of facts is to disregard clear and convincing evidence to the contrary, and sets a dangerous precedent that, in my opinion, may encourage others to bear false witness against Marines as a tactic to erode public support of the Marine Corps and mission in Iraq," Ware wrote.
Defense attorneys James Culp and Gary Myers said in a statement that he was pleased with the report and that it "reflected the value of the calm of a courtroom and the adversarial process."