|Stone was accused of not adequately investigating the deaths.|
2 Marines are cleared in probe of Iraqi deaths
LOS ANGELES -- The Marine Corps has dropped all charges against a captain accused of failing to investigate the deaths of 24 Iraqi civilians and another Marine accused in some of the killings, the Corps announced yesterday.
Captain Randy W. Stone, 35, was one of four officers charged with failing to adequately investigate the deaths in Haditha.
"It is clear to me that any error of omission or commission by Captain Stone does not warrant action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice," Lieutenant General James Mattis wrote.
The Corps also announced that charges had been dismissed against Lance Corporal Justin Sharratt, who was accused of killing three brothers in the assault that followed a deadly roadside bombing of US troops.
Four enlisted Marines and four officers were initially charged in the killings. Prosecutors dropped charges against one, Sergeant Sanick P. Dela Cruz, who was charged with five counts of murder, and gave him immunity to testify against his squadmates.
The central figure in the case is the squad leader, Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich, who faces 18 counts of murder.
The other enlisted Marine, Lance Corporal Stephen Tatum, has attended a preliminary hearing, but no recommendation has been made about whether he should stand trial on murder charges. Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Chessani is the only other officer to have attended a preliminary hearing. The investigator in that case recommended Chessani face a general court-martial on charges of dereliction of duty for failing to investigate.