The government's case against a Marine accused of fatally shooting Iraqi civilians in the town of Haditha lacks sufficient evidence to go to a court-martial and should be dropped, a hearing officer determined.
The murder charges were brought against Lance Cpl. Justin L. Sharratt for killing three Iraqi brothers in November 2005.
The hearing officer, Lt. Col. Paul Ware, wrote in a report released by the defense Tuesday that those charges were based on unreliable witness accounts, insupportable forensic evidence and questionable legal theories. He also wrote that the case could have dangerous consequences on the battlefield, where soldiers might hesitate during critical moments when facing an enemy.
"The government version is unsupported by independent evidence," Ware wrote in the 18-page report. "To believe the government version of facts is to disregard clear and convincing evidence to the contrary."
the article goes on to note:
The recommendation to drop the murder charge is nonbinding. A final decision about whether Sharratt should stand trial will be made by Lt. Gen. James Mattis, the commanding general overseeing the case.
I see this as good news. I hope this officer's report will help persuade the ruling judge to drop this case against LCpl Ware. How can we go after these men for doing their duty? How can you punish a marine for the despicable tactics of the enemy? An enemy who frequently uses innocent people as a shield, when they fire on Americans soldiers.
A lot of anetters called these marines murderers when this story broke. A lot of whom had never been in a similar situation, and had nothing to reference off of. If these charges are dropped because the evidence does not support cold blooded murder, will they admit they were wrong?