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8 Marines charged in killings of 24 Iraqi civilians after roadside bomb

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Posted: December 21, 2006 4:50 p.m.
Updated: January 5, 2007 5:00 a.m.
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — Eight Marines were charged Thursday in the killings of 24 Iraqi civilians in the town of Haditha last year.
    Four Marines were charged with murder in the biggest U.S. criminal case involving civilian deaths to arise from the war in Iraq.
    The other four charged were officers who were not there but were accused of failures in investigating and reporting the deaths, the Marine Corps said.
    A squad leader was charged with murdering 12 people and ordering other Marines to murder six people in the hours after a roadside bomb killed one Marine and injured two others.
    The squad leader, Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, 26, was charged with unpremeditated murder of 18 Iraqi civilians, including six people inside a house members of his squad cleared with deadly force. Wuterich also was charged with one count each of making a false official statement and soliciting another sergeant to make false official statements.
    Sgt. Sanick P. Dela Cruz was accused of the unpremeditated murders of five people and making a false official statement with intent to deceive.
    Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt was accused of the unpremeditated murder of three Iraqis.
    Lance Cpl. Stephen Tatum charged with the unpremeditated murders of two Iraqis, negligent homicide of four Iraqi civilians and a charge of assault upon two Iraqis.
    The highest ranking defendant, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani, was accused of failing to obey an order or regulation, encompassing dereliction of duty.
    The other officers charged were 1st Lt. Andrew Grayson, Capt. Lucas McConnell and Capt. Randy Stone.
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