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Charges dropped against US Marine in Haditha Iraqi civilian killings case

[JURIST] US military prosecutors Friday dropped all charges against a US Marine charged in connection with the killings of 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha [USMC timeline; JURIST news archive] in November 2005. Lance Cpl. Stephen B. Tatum [defense profile] had been charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment, and aggravated assault, but a US Marine Corps statement [press release] said the charges were dropped "in order to continue to pursue the truth seeking process into the Haditha incident."

Eight Marines were initially charged in connection to the Haditha incident, though charges [text] have since been dropped against four others. The court-martial of Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich [defense website], leader of the squad implicated in the killings, was postponed [JURIST report] earlier this month from an original March 3 start date. Lt. Col. Jeffrey R. Chessani [JURIST news archive] faces court-martial on April 28 for dereliction of duty and violation of a lawful order based on the allegations that he failed to properly investigate the shootings, while 1st Lt. Andrew Grayson [defense website] faces court martial in May on charges [JURIST report] that he made false official statements and obstructed justice in connection to the killings at Haditha. Reuters has more.

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