Marine accused in Haditha massacre pleads guilty to dereliction

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 23, 2012 1:48 PM
Marine accused in Haditha massacre pleads guilty to dereliction

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - The U.S. Marine sergeant accused of leading a 2005 massacre of civilians in Haditha, Iraq, pleaded guilty on Monday to one count of dereliction of duty, halting court-martial proceedings on manslaughter and other charges.

Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich, 31, had been on trial charged with involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault and dereliction of duty stemming from the November 19, 2005, death of two dozen Iraqi civilians. He initially was charged with murder.

Six out of the eight Marines originally accused in the case had their charges dismissed by military judges, and another was cleared of criminal wrongdoing.

(Reporting by Marty Graham and Mary Slosson; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Paul Thomasch)