Two Marines to Be Tried on Haditha Charges

Judge rejects motion to dismiss case, orders court martial
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2007 6:44 AM CDT
U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Jeffrey R. Chessani walks to a preliminary hearing where he is charged with violation of a lawful order and dereliction of duty in this May 30, 2007, file photo at Camp Pendlelton,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Two US marines will face court martial on charges stemming from the November, 2005, killing of 24 civilians in Haditha, Iraq. One of them, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani, is the most senior US serviceman to face court martial for actions in combat since Vietnam. Chessani is charged with dereliction of duty and failing to report and investigate the deaths, reports the BBC.

Lance Cpl. Stephen B. Tatum is charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and aggravated assault. The incident at Haditha was sparked by a roadside bomb that killed a Marine. The rest of his convoy shot five occupants of a car driving nearby, and searched nearby houses, where 19 more Iraqis were shot. Chessani and Tatum are the only two of the eight Marines involved to face trial so far.