Skip to comments.THE TRIAL IS OVER: SSGT WUTERICH PLEADS GUILTY TO ONE COUNT OF NEGLIGENT DERELICTION OF DUTY
Posted on 01/23/2012 7:08:17 PM PST by RedRover
Camp Pendleton, Calif. The General Court Martial of US Marine Corps SSgt Frank D. Wuterich ended Monday morning after a plea deal was reached over the weekend. In return for a guilty plea to one count of Negligent Dereliction of Duty, the six-year ordeal of the 31-year old father of three is finally over.
Negligent dereliction is a lesser included offense detailed in Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Dereliction of Duty. Before the agreement, SSgt Wuterich was charged with Willful Dereliction of Duty, a much more severe offense. In return for his plea, 13 charges, including nine counts of Voluntary Manslaughter, two counts of Aggravated Assault, and two other charges of willful dereliction were dropped.
SSgt Wuterich faced more than 160 years in prison if he had been found guilty and sentenced to the maximum sentence allowed by law on each count. That option was never really on the table although the specter of life in prison wore heavily on everyone associated with the case since SSgt Wuterich and seven other Marines were charged with massacring 24 civilians in Haditha, Iraq on Nov. 19, 2005.
The maximum sentence military judge LtCol David Jones can now impose on SSgt Wuterich is three months confinement and loss of two -thirds of his pay while he is confined. The staff sergeant told the judge he earns $3,486 a month. At risk if he is incarcerated are his three little girls, who are otherwise without a resident parent.
SSgt Wuterich admitted he failed to maintain "adequate tactical control" of three Marines he was leading and made a "negligent verbal order." While answering the military judges questions before the deal was done, SSgt Wuterich said comments he made to troops he was leading were negligent and may have led to the "tragic" deaths of the women and children.
"I took a team of Marines to clear houses to the south of the site [where House 1 and House 2 are situated] and did use the words 'shoot first, ask questions later,' or something to that affect prior to clearing or entering there," he said.
The six-year long tragedy was triggered by a specious story in Time magazine in which reporter Tim McGirk accused a squad of Marines from Kilo, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines of running rampant through two houses full of civilians killing everyone they saw in revenge for the IED death of one of their own. McGirk graduated from University of California Berkeley and is now teaching there with money the university obtained from donors to create a fellowship teaching investigative journalism. McGirk was never at Haditha and relied on two known insurgent sympathizers masquerading as human rights workers for his facts.
Twenty-four Iraqis were killed, the Marine Corps has said, including six women and four children as Marines tried to find the gunmen who had been firing on them from houses near the bomb blast. Five Iraqi men died on a road the Marines called Route Chestnut, the only hard-surfaced thoroughfare into the southern part of the city. SSgt Wuterich testified he took a knee and shot them when they tried to flee after they inexplicably showed up seconds before the bomb exploded. Several witnesses testified they were the only Iraqis driving on the road when the blast occurred.
McGirks helpful human rights advocates, one of whom had just been released from Abu Ghraib prison , and the other whom Marine signal-intercept specialists had been monitoring for months, were heard before the attack planning how to record the event for propaganda purposes. Six of the victims died in the first house the four Marines stormed and eight more died in the second they cleared with grenades and rifle fire.
The event was precipitated by the gruesome death of twenty-year old LCpl Miguel T.J. Terrazas, who died when a remotely detonated roadside bomb tore both him and the Humvee he was riding in to pieces. The bomb was buried in the hard-surfaced road and then concealed with fresh cement in plain view of the victims who lived there. Two other Marines were wounded in the attack. The decimated squad was then fired upon by unseen gunman they believed were hiding in and around two houses filled with civilians.
After the initial hearing concluded about 9:00 am PT, SSgt Wuterich shook hands with his attorneys and then turned to hug his parents David and Rosemarie Wuterich, who have been in the court room every day since testimony began two weeks ago.
Lead defense attorney Neal Puckett told LtCol Jones the negotiations that caused a flurry of speculation Wednesday and Thursday never ended but in fact had continued through the weekend. He offered the observation after LtCol Jones told the court that the first round of bargaining fell through before court resumed Friday morning.
"Nothing ever fell through, Puckett corrected the unusually patient judge before the settlement was announced. Id like to get that on the record.
Defend Our Marines has e-mailed McGirk for a comment. As of this writing he has not replied.
Sentencing is scheduled for Tuesday morning at 8:30 am PT.
I listened to the segment, as well. Hmmmmm, Jane Siegel was clueless about SSgt Wuterich’s particular circumstances.....thought he’d been incarcerated all this time. Siegel, if I remember, defended one of the Hamdania 8 (or Pendleton 8), I think Jodka.
There’s a reason Tim McGirk didn’t vist the Haditha Damn when he was offered the opportunity after he published his article. He would have fainted at the machismo all around him. I am surprised/impressed he survived in Iraq given the way he sounds on audio.
That turkey posted on the one week report thread, it was post #13 which is now gone and I can’t remember what was posted by him but here’s my reply to him then:
“Feel free to expound on your third post since signing on at FR. Have you followed the cases or read any of the current articles? Have you ever been signed on under another screen name?”
Yes, Siegel seemed to be claiming that Wuterich has been incarcerated at Leavenworth for 6 years, although she also said he did time in the Pendleton brig. It was weird. Still, she mostly defended Wuterich even if very clumsily.
I love that in WIDE-SCREEN FORMAT!!
Thanks, jaz. I see what vetposter posted in that thread. I thing smooth captured his original post.
LOL, smooth.....love the widescreen version of that pic, also.
Somewhere, Jack Murtha is kicking his feet and screaming that his immediate conviction of these men turned out to be a big fat lie. What a toad.
Yes, Siegel did defend SSgt Wuterich....as you said, “even if very clumsily”.
Yes, he did and his reply was better than mine. :-)
I should have looked at the other posts.
...and the colors are brighter too!!!
( Coming soon, HiDef and 3D !!! )
So has the JAG Reservist’s name been released? I’d like to know who to avoid in any future encounters on deployments!
Thanks for the ping Red. Hopefully the judge will take into consideration the three little girls. This Marine has gone through enough at this point.
Yes indeed, the enemy were using the women and children as shields.
I want president Newt to set aside whatever sentence this marine receives.
“Our Country wont go on forever, if we stay soft as we are now. There wont be any AMERICA because some foreign soldier will invade us and take our women and breed a hardier race!” Chesty Puller
Too bad he was not around to testify FOR this good man. Chesty would have ripped the prosecutors a new one.
...At risk if he is incarcerated are his three little girls, who are otherwise without a resident parent...
It's sad he had to plead out, but he has his priorities in order, just as he did in Haditha.
The bureaucrats get their scapegoat, but not to the extent they wanted. While civilian control of the armed forces is a good idea, it also tends to impose "values" that are anthema to what the military does.
I’m hoping the judge will see that SSgt Wuterich has more than paid any debt of incarceration by being kept by order at Pendleton for 6 years or so.
I’m hoping he’ll also see that taking the pay of single father with 3 kids is also overkill, since SSgt Wuterich has paid far more in cash and broken family defending himself successfully against far more serious charges.
If anything, I’d accept some kind of community service hours and an administrative separation from service under honorable conditions, at worst ‘general under honorable’.
I would then appeal (even to this president) for a presidential pardon.
Agreed, xzins. The hearing today may go all morning so it’s hard to predict when we’ll know the sentence. Prayers for wisdom.
Amen to your prayers, Red. It’s been great knowing you over these many years.
Very much likewise, chaplain. A desire to see right prevail motivated us all. But I think it was really the friendships that kept us going all these years.
I agree. The friendships and unity of effort made this meaningful.
I too listened to the interview with Siegel and McGirk. Siegel was clueless as to the circumstances of SSgt Wuterich. I thought lawyers knew better than to ask or answer questions when they dont know the correct response. Shows how this Haditha investigation was handled from the beginning.
Now to what I really want to respond to. TIM McGIRK. NO, we dont owe any apologies to the Iraqis. Yes , civilian losses are tragic. Yes, civilian losses should be avoided. THIS WAS WAR. War is often a prolonged conflict typified by extreme aggression, social disruption and usually high mortality. Politicians dont fight wars, our armed forces fight the wars, pay the ultimate price and sacrifice their tomorrows to keep AMERICA safe. Our Haditha Marines did what they were trained to do..and above all else they followed NUMBER ONE on the ROE. (no matter how many times the politicos want to change them) Marines can use deadly force to protect themselves and other Marines.
How innocent were the civilians of Haditha on November 19, 2005????? Now may be the time for 65 NCIS agents to re-enter Haditha and ask the questions that still go unanswered. Safa Younis is now 16 years old. Now may be the time to ask her why she didnt go to school that day. Why she covered her ears to avoid the concussion of the IED blast. How did she know the bomb would be exploded? The NCIS botched this investigation from the beginning.
Our prayers and Gods blessings to SSgt Frank and the Wuterich family. Rosemarie and David, you fought the good fight. . Frank and his three girls will be in our thoughts and prayers forever. Our Haditha Marines fought the good fight. Americans remain safe because of the deeds and sacrifices of these Marines.
God Bless Our Haditha Marines
The Sharratt Family
Very well said. God bless our Haditha Marines.
SSGT WUTERICH is set to be sentenced Tuesday afternoon, following closing arguments.
"For six years I have had to accept that my name will always be associated with a massacre, with being a cold-blooded baby killer, an 'out-of-control' monster and a conspiring liar," he said. "There's nothing I can do about whoever believes those things. All I can do is continue to be who I've always been ---- me. And none of those labels have ever been, or will ever be, who I am."
There is nothing in "bomb that house" that isn't every bit the same in meaning AND INTENT as "shoot first, questions later".
The infantry is charged with murder and the air support is given a medal.
And at Haditha that day, air support would have been given a medal.
From first to last this was a political witch hunt all about positioning a political party for an upcoming election. Because of that the combat innocent lives of members of a Marine unit have been forever scarred.
Our rulers have taken their pound of flesh from a man, who at the time was a 25 year old buck sergeant (if Marines use that term), and they have accomplished their unpatriotic act through a nickel and dime picking at the phrase "shoot first, questions later" spoken on a battlefield when receiving fire and in fear for their very lives.
I despise them, and Sullivan, and Mathis(sp), and every general and politician who had a chance to put an end to this fiasco, but didn't have the guts. It is THEIR acts that are shameful and a discredit to the Marines especially, but also to every serviceman and woman who has ever worn the uniform of any of our services.
Continued blessings on you and yours, Darryl. May God bless the United States of America.
Called to the stand as a character witness on Tuesday, Jeffrey Dinsmore, an intelligence officer with Wuterich’s battalion at the time of the killings, said “insurgent groups ... had complete control over the city (of Haditha) at the time” and the unit had received word that an ambush was likely.
He also said insurgents were known to commandeer homes as places to launch attacks and to deliberately use civilians as human shields.
In his statement on Tuesday, Wuterich, directed an apology to family members of those killed in Iraq, he said, “words cannot express my sorrow for the loss of your loved ones.” But he insisted civilians were not singled out for attack.
“The truth is, I don’t believe anyone in my squad ... behaved in any way that was dishonorable or contrary to the highest ideals that we all live by as Marines,” he said. “But even with the best intentions, sometimes combat actions can cause tragic results.”
In a final plea for leniency, his civilian defense lawyer, Neal Puckett, said his client “is not evil.”
“He is decent and moral, and his integrity is unfaltering,” Puckett said. “He knows that his Marine Corps career has come to an end.”
A few other careers likewise came to an end thanks to the cowardice of the scumbag Pentagon and the scumbag political whores, all of whom ran like scared bunny rabbits from a slimy propaganda piece slopped together by a worm named Tim McGirk and published in a dying, liberal magazine. Wow.
In this way, those scum handed the enemy a victory on a silver platter.
JUST BREAKING NOW:
MARINE GETS NO JAIL TIME
Sentence: 90 days incarceration, reduction to E-1, no lost pay.
But the convening authority says no confinement so there will be no jail time.
Waiting for press conference. Not sure about terms of discharge. More later.
Thank God no jail time, Frank Wuterich can get on with his life.
He took one for he Marine Corps. and the Marines know it.
The Iraqis are going ape-spit.
About 15 minutes ago Fox said Wuterich will not have to do any time.
I'll bet they are along with most of the enemedia. It's good to see the word getting out so soon.
Sure they are. Lights, camera, action. Let’s all get on CNN.
This is on the heads of those who in the media, the government, and the military who should have said, this was no massacre.
Like the little girl who knew the bomb was set to go off, there are citizens of this stretch of Haditha who know they were firing on these Marines that morning.
They know that Wuterich's complete exhoneration would have been justice, and that America's judicial system failed one of it's warriors.
But, they know, and they will answer some day.
It's my understanding that discharge is an entirely seperate issue. It is an administrative function and can not be part of the plea agreement.
Rageboy and The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب (aka TIME magazine) will be up to their phony stunt indignation for days to come.
Thanks McGirk, thanks Murtha, thanks lamestream media and Pentagon perfumed princes.
I don't think I understand this.
Jones said the plea bargain approved by Lt. Gen. Thomas Waldhauser called for no jail time.
Jones said that he planned to recommend 90 days in the brig, the maximum as requested by the prosecution, but that Waldhauser's approval of the details of the plea bargain trumps that recommendation.
Marine Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich was reduced in rank to private Tuesday after pleading guilty to one count of negligent dereliction of duty, ending the largest war-crimes prosecution to emerge from the Iraq war.
At the sentencing Tuesday, military judge Lt. Col. David Jones ordered Wuterich to serve 90 days in jail, but that was set aside under the terms of a plea agreement reached Monday. The details of the agreement were revealed after the judge rendered his sentence.
(Click link for rest of Walker's story)
The details of the agreement were revealed after the judge rendered his sentence.
Jones intended for Wuterich to do the max time in jail.
Jones is a worthless piece of shit.
I don’t have the full story from Nat yet but my understanding is that SSgt Wuterich was given a sentence as a formality and incarceration was commuted by decision of the convening authority.
Like being sentenced in court and then having it instantly commuted.
This must have been part of the plea agreement. Details as soon as I have them!
Thanks for the reply. We almost cross-posted. I saw in Walker’s story the same thing you pointed out - - that sick, cowardly scumbag Jones wanted to bring the hammer down on Frank. That pre-approved plea agreement was a smart idea by the defense team, who could obviously see what a piece of shit Jones is.
If the "convening authority" was Jones, then he had nothing to do with it. That sick, cowardly scumbag apparently wanted Wuterich in jail for the max time allowable (90 days). See jazusamo's post @ #95.
Jones has me PO’d for the reduction to E-1.
The fact is that this was a buck sergeant’s first time in combat. The fact also is that Wuterich clearly said his intention in “shoot first, questions later” was to push his men to stay safe by staying on the attack and NOT to injure civilians.
A buck sergeant’s first time in combat, and he was saying something that is damn close to the ROEs which were “reasonable PID + protect personal safety”.
The combination of those two is far different that “absolute PID”.
It clearly puts the weight of the ROEs on the side of personal security and not on the side of risking your life to get a PID.
Any imbecile can see that, can read what was going on in this young buck sergeant’s mind, and can absolutely see that there was ZERO crime committed that day by SSgt Wuterich.
Patton would have given him a damn medal, and Lincoln would have given him a commission.
The US military, circa 2012, besmirches their honor and would prefer assigning all troops pink PJs and sensitivity classes to get in touch with their inner femininity.
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