Civilian Jury Acquits Ex-Marine of Iraqi Murders

'No one saw who did the shooting,' says juror
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 29, 2008 2:53 AM CDT
Former Marine Jose Luis Nazario Jr. arrives at court with his attorney. A jury acquitted Nazario of killing unarmed Iraqi prisoners.   (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
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(Newser) – A former Marine sergeant accused of killing Iraqi prisoners has been acquitted by a California jury, reports the Los Angeles Times. Jose Luis Nazario, 28, wept as he heard the verdict. It's the first time in modern history a civilian jury has ruled on actions taken in combat, and promised to test jurors' ability to comprehend what one serviceman described as the "chaos and fear" of war.

Nazario's case went before a civilian jury because he had left the military by the time the charges were filed. "Justice was finally served," Nazario said. "I want the same justice for every Marine, sailor, soldier serving in harm's way." The only juror with military experience said prosecutors lacked evidence and witnesses in the 2004 killings. "People heard the shots, but nobody saw who did the shooting," he said.