The only Marine convicted in the killing of two dozen unarmed civilians in Iraq in 2005 will not serve any jail time, reports the AP. Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich had faced up to three months in jail for dereliction of duty, a charge he pleaded guilty to this week as part of a deal that sharply reduced nine counts of manslaughter. But when the military judge opened the envelop containing the plea deal, he announced there would be no jail time. "That's very good for you, obviously," said the judge, who recommended Wuterich's rank be reduced to private and his pay docked.
"I was expecting that the American judiciary would sentence this person to life in prison, and that he would appear and confess in front of the whole world that he committed this crime, so that America could show itself as democratic and fair," said one survivor. Wuterich declined to comment on the verdict, but he did apologize to the families of the dead, saying he never intended to harm them. "I know that you are the real victims," Wuterich told the families of those killed through a statement. "Even with the best intentions, sometimes combat actions can cause tragic results."