Marine to Stand Trial for Iraq Killing Spree

Charge reduced to manslaughter; 2nd Marine indicted
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 31, 2007 6:40 PM CST
Marine Lt. Col. Jeffrey R. Chessani, the highest-ranking U.S. serviceman to face a combat-related court-martial since the Vietnam War, was arraigned Friday, Nov. 16, 2007, on charges of failing to investigate...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A Marine will face court-martial for leading a bloody strike against Iraqi civilians two years ago, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Charges filed against Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich today include voluntary manslaughter and aggravated assault, but a Marine commander dismissed the more severe charge of unpremeditated murder. Wuterich could face 160 years in the brig, a sentence experts call unlikely, the AP reports.

In the largest US criminal case including civilian deaths in Iraq, another Marine was charged today with obstruction of justice, and two others will face trial next year. Wuterich admits to leading an attack that killed 24 Iraqi men, women, and children after a bomb hit his convoy in 2005, but claims his platoon was returning fire. Prosecutors say the strike was brutal revenge.