[JURIST] US Marine Sgt. Jermaine A. Nelson was charged Friday with the November 2004 murder of an Iraqi detainee in Fallujah [JURIST news archive]. This is the second time Nelson has been charged with the murder. The original charges against him were initially dropped, but upon review of the case, the military decided to proceed. Nelson faces an Article 32 pretrial hearing [JAG backgrounder] to determine whether there is enough evidence to go forward with a full court-martial. If convicted of murder, Nelson faces life in prison. The alleged murder took place during a bloody battle [CNN report] between US troops and Iraqi insurgents over the city of Fallujah.
In July, the Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS) [official website] announced investigations of at least 10 Marines [JURIST report] in connection with the Fallujah offensive after former Marine Corporal Ryan Weemer admitted during a polygraphed job interview with the US Secret Service that he had witnessed indiscriminate killings in Fallujah. Military journalist Nathaniel Helms afterwards corroborated that account, reporting that he witnessed Marines execute subdued Iraqi prisoners, whose bodies were later buried under rubble from an air strike. The charges against Nelson follow those against former Marine Sgt. Jose Nazario, who pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] in September to voluntary manslaughter in connection with the same incident. AP has more.