Skip to comments.Captain Randy W. Stone: Article 32 Summary
Posted on 05/19/2007 5:49:37 AM PDT by RedRover
Key witnesses and testimony
Lt. William Kallop
Platoon CO, the only officer on the scene during most of the incident. The lieutenant (granted immunity) testified just prior to the 3/1's third deployment to Iraq.
Quote: I thought the Marines had operated as best they could in an uncertain environment, Kallop said. I had faith in my squad leader, who had told me what happened and why.
[Sources: Marines Corp Times, San Diego Union Tribune, New York Times]
1st Sgt. Albert Espinosa
As Kilo Company's first sergeant, Espinosa testified that one week after the Nov. 19, 2005, incident, he initiated a conversation with Stone at the battalion's command center in Haditha because, "I wasn't happy with the answers I was getting. I thought we need to do an investigation."
Stone told him that a probe was taking place at the battalion level, Espinosa said, later adding that a sergeant major also said it was being addressed at a higher level.
Espinosa said he thought that statements should have been taken from the Marines linked to the killing because that was what had happened in a 2003 incident when a 12-year-old Iraqi girl was slain. Espinosa assisted in that investigation.
Under questioning from Stone's attorney Charles Gittins, Espinosa said he was unaware of what reports were being filed at the battalion level.
[Source: North County Times]
Sgt. Sanick Dela Cruz
A corporal at the time of the incident, Sgt. Dela Cruz was granted immunity to testify. He was not involved in the house clearing, and his testimony only effects Sgt. Wuterich.
Quote: "They were just standing, looking around, had hands up," Dela Cruz said. "Then I saw one of them drop in the middle. I didn't know what was going on."
[Source: North County Times]
Maj. Gen. Richard Huck
Former commanding general of the 2nd Marine Division based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, who at the time of the incident, was in charge of troops in Haditha. The general testified via video hookup from the Pentagon.
Quote: Huck commanded 19,000 U.S. military personnel at the time and 12,000 Iraqi soldiers and said he relied on staff reports of battle incidents such as in Haditha. "If someone felt there was a need to investigate, it could have come up from a myriad of places," he said.
[Sources: North County Times, Associated Press, Reuters]
Sgt. Maj. Edward Sax
Testified that he only learned that civilians had died in Haditha when he saw the Sgt. Wuterich interview on 60 Minutes.
[Source: North County Times]
1st Lt. Adam Mathes
Kilo Co. executive officer.
Quote: My impression of Sergeant Wuterich is that he is a very decent, quiet, mature guy. I didnt have any reason to question their integrity.
Capt. Jeffery Dinsmore
Intelligence officer, 3rd Battalion.
Quote: The reality is then and the reality is now, you let loose marines in a T.I.C. against a hostile situation, taking small-arms fire, they dont have the training nor do they have the presence of mind to differentiate between civilians and insurgents. It stinks.
[Source: Reuters, San Diego Union Tribune, New York Times, North County Times]
Maj. Dana Hyatt
Civilian affairs officer, 3rd Battalion. He was given immunity to testify.
[Source: Associated Press, San Diego Union Tribune]
Col. John Ewers
Legal affairs officer, assigned by the Marine Corps to assist Army Maj. Gen. Eldon Bargewell in a review of how commanders responded to Haditha.
Quote: "[Capt. Stone] didn't cover himself with glory ... but without being asked by his commander to do an investigation, I didn't think it rose to the level of criminal dereliction."
[Source: North County Times]
Maj. Samuel Carrasco
Operations officer, 3rd Battalion.
[Source: North County Times, Associated Press]
Maj. Kevin Gonzales
Executive officer, 3rd Battalion.
[Source: North County Times]
Capt. Randy W. Stone
The accused gave unsworn testimony in his defense.
Quote:"I have never lied and have worked at all times to assist as best I could to shed light on what I knew and when I knew it. The most frustrating thing is the reality that even looking at this whole matter through 20/20 hindsight, I know I was trying to help.
"My firm belief that there was no law of armed conflict violation was the foundation for what actions I did take as well as action I did not take."
[Source: North County Times]
And in closing...
From the Associated Press:
Prosecutors portrayed Stone as a meek novice who overlooked the killings in an attempt to gain favor with the other Marines. In his closing argument, Lt. Col. Paul Atterbury said that Stone knew women and children were killed in their homes but that he did nothing in response.
"The battalion judge advocate has a duty to make sure his Marines do not become desensitized to the mortally bruising combat environment that is Al Anbar, Iraq," Lt. Col. Atterbury said.
Defense attorney Charles Gittins said that the prosecution's case was based on the assumption that Stone knew the killings were wrong, but that prosecutors had the luxury of hindsight. More senior Marines saw no need to investigate the deaths because they were deemed to have been a lawful consequence of combat, he said.
"He had no more knowledge about the deaths than the division commander, who was actually briefed by the battalion commander," Gittins said.
Lt. Col. Atterbury said it was irrelevant that Stone's superiors saw no need for an investigation.
From the New York Times:
The presiding officer, Maj. Thomas McCann, seemed disconcerted about the testimony he had heard from several officers, from the general in charge of the Second Marine Division down to the first lieutenant whose men killed 24 civilians in Haditha on Nov. 19, 2005. Several officers described civilian deaths as unfortunate but justifiable if they occurred during combat.
On Friday Major McCann, an experienced Marine lawyer, interjected some unsettling questions about how many civilian deaths it would take to constitute a violation of military regulations.
Alluding to Haditha, he asked, At what point do we have to scratch our heads that we killed a lot more civilians than enemy?
Because so many witnesses had testified that civilian deaths from combat action need not be investigated, Major McCann said, Im trying to figure out what authority they are citing.
Maj. Carroll J. Connolly...a lawyer for the Marine regiment commanded then by Col. Stephen W. Davis, said he saw no need to investigate the civilian deaths in Haditha because they had come during combat with enemy fighters.
When Major McCann, the investigating officer, asked what the legal basis was for drawing that conclusion, Major Connolly, who was granted immunity from prosecution for his testimony, said he could not think of any.
From the North County Times:
...a prosecutor contended that Stone needed to be held accountable for failure to investigate a suspected violation of law, a suspicion that didn't arise until several weeks later when a Time magazine reporter said he had reason to believe a massacre had taken place.
"The evidence suggests he didn't do anything," Lt. Col. Paul Atterbury said of Stone. "The questions weren't asked (by Stone) of the right Marines."
The prosecutor also contended that Stone needed to serve as a moral compass for the battalion and therefore should have known to conduct at least a preliminary inquiry....
The case boils down to accountability, and Stone failed to carry out his job, the prosecutor said.
McCann also could consider additional charges of filing a false official statement for an e-mail Stone sent in late December to another Marine officer in which some of what he knew wasn't included, Atterbury contended, adding that a charge of conduct unbecoming an officer also could be levied.
Stone's attorney, Charles Gittins, said those suggestions typified the government's case, comparing the charging decision to a dartboard at which prosecutors blindly threw darts and filed criminal accusations on the basis of where the missiles landed.
"This entire case is an illusion of the truth," Gittins said during his closing argument. "This whole thing stinks -- this can't be the way the Marine Corps does business."
None of the testimony from government witnesses showed that Stone knew anything beyond the first account given by the Marines who would ultimately face murder charges in the killing, Gittins said. That account indicated that the civilians were "collateral damage" killed during the course of a combat action and no investigation was necessary.
The attorney said that if his client is guilty, legal officers and other Marine commanders far up the chain of command are similarly guilty. Three other officers, including the former battalion commander, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani, face similar charges.
So those are the facts regarding the first Haditha hearing. My prediction is that the case against Capt. Randy W. Stone will not go to a court marital. I predict that charges will be dropped sometime in June or July, after the enlisted men's Article 32s.
Defend Our Marines
The national media pretty much ignored the first of the Haditha hearings. I thought it would be a service to pull together all the testimony in one place for easy reference.
Unless its delayed again, the next hearing will be Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani on May 30th. The first hearing for an enlisted man will be LCpl. Justin Sharratt on June 11th.
Thanks for posting this.
My pleasure, Bigg. I should give a hat tip to Girlene who hepped, as they say in Dixie.
Me Lie Too is falling like a Frenchman’s rifle.
Pray for W and Our Marines
Red - as usual you did a fabulous job pulling all of the info together. McCann’s comments worry me but based on the testimony, I don’t see how a court martial could go forward.
Red, that wasn’t much “hepping” on my part. You have put together a great summary of the whole witness list/case!
In reviewing this list, there really aren’t too many witnesses for the prosecution. Dela Cruz I guess is a prosecution witness, but I’m not sure how relevant his changing testimony was to Capt. Stone. I guess the prosecutors just wanted some headlines?
Witness after witness at Capt. Stone’s hearing indicate that noone saw a reason to investigate. It took a Times reporter to harrass Marine leadership with inane accusations like ‘4 men were herded into a closet and mowed down’ to get the ball rolling.
You thought right! Thanks much for doing this...it is a tremendous help.
Also noted that throughout the summary the phrase was "15 civilians" was used. However, the good old NYSlimes had this to say:
whose men killed 24 civilians in Haditha on Nov. 19, 2005
Lest ye forget...that is THEIR story and they are sticking with it!
A lie told often enough..........
Sacha Macha you work well together! Thanks.
I have a question. The prosecution keeps saying that Stone should have made an investigation. From what I can tell, a report of the incident was made, pictures of the scenes taken, relevant intel from a drone and radio communication were available. There was an investigation (or pulling together of relevant info), just not an accusatory one.
What kind of an “investigation” are they talking about? Is there some formal, legal, documented process that the prosecution is referring to? This has never been explained in the articles. IOW, did Stone not fill out form “AB123” that requires “steps 5,6, and 7” to be initiated and followed up?
My prediction is that the case against Capt. Randy W. Stone will not go to a court marital.
I agree...Lt. Col. Paul Atterbury and presiding officer Maj. Thomas McCann can make remarks and wonder why certain actions were or were not taken and whether other charges should have been brought against Capt. Randy Stone but from the testimony by many witnesses called at the hearing it doesn't seem a courts-martial is warranted.
Our system of justice requires evidence to be shown or testified to to convict a person of a crime, not the feelings of the prosecutor or the presiding officer.
This is just a guess about an “investigation”. The prosecution probably wanted Stone to talk to each of the Marines alone who were involved and see if their accounts matched of what had happened.
If nobody felt the ROE was ignored, then there wouldn’t have been a need for question and answer session.
On Feb. 12, 2006, Maj. Gen. Huck learned in an e-mail from Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, that a Time magazine reporter asked about allegations including one that "four young men were herded into a closet and sprayed with bullets."
Now notice that Major Hyatt testified that four of the Iraqis killed inside the houses were insurgents.
Those are the same four men.
They were killed in the third house by LCpl. Sharratt and Sgt. Wuterich.
On June 11th, at LCpl. Sharratt's hearing, we'll finally get many more details about the engagement in this house with these four men. They were not "herded into a closet" and they engaged the Marines.
I'd be enjoying this, if it weren't for the mental anguish of the accused and their families. Regardless, I'm looking to the 11th when we'll finally get the facts on the record.
The diagram below shows how I believe the engagement at the third house went down. If anyone from Time magazine is lurking, you can use this free of charge...
Good reminder! I’m curious why noone asked LCpl Sharratt and Sgt. Wuterich about the incident with the 4 insurgents before jumping feet first into an investigation. That was a pretty inflammatory claim by the Iraqis. It might have put things into perspective before launching blindly into two concurrent investigations (Bargewell and NCIS).
LOL!! I don't think anyone from Time will be beating on your door for you to sign a release.
Good point about the testimony that will be coming out at LCpl. Sharratt's hearing. I'm anxious to hear what the prosecution witnesses (if they have any) have to say about the AK-47's.
They did ask Sharratt and Wuterich—through the thugs at NCIS.
When Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli ordered the investigation, no one at division or regiment had any fond feelings for Sharratt or Wuterich. Unfair though it would have been, I think the brass was mad as hell at those ant-like creatures far below them who caused all the trouble.
You see the result of the battalion commander sticking up for his guys.
I truly believe that the brass just felt that throwing the Haditha Marines to the wolves was the best way to make the problem go away (for them).
Thanks, lily. I wonder if interviewing Marines after combat is standard procedure when civlians are killed, and if that was part of Capt. Stone’s training. Capt. Stone had only been in Iraq for a couple/three months prior to the Haditha incident. The prosecution keeps saying Capt. Stone should have done more, but either the articles leave it out, or the prosecution never says, what that “more” part actually is.
I guess the point of Dela Cruz’s testimony was to try to prove that bad stuff went on and Capt. Stone did nothing to root out the Dreadful Crime.
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