Skip to comments.Jury acquits former Marine in killing of Iraqis (NAZARIO!!)
Posted on 08/28/2008 3:50:40 PM PDT by RaceBannon
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - A former Marine accused of killing unarmed Iraqi detainees was acquitted of voluntary manslaughter Thursday in a first-of-its-kind federal trial.
The jury took six hours to find Jose Luis Nazario Jr. not guilty of charges that he killed or caused others to kill four unarmed detainees on Nov. 9, 2004, in Fallujah, Iraq, during some of the fiercest fighting of the war.
The verdict left the 28-year-old defendant in tears. He cried so loud that the judge smacked his gavel to call for order. Nazario's family and friends also sobbed in the courtroom.
"It's been a long, hard year for my family," Nazario said outside the courtroom. "I need a moment to catch my breath and try to get my life back together."
Thursday's verdict marks the first time a civilian jury has determined whether the alleged actions of a former military service member in combat violated the law of war.
One of the jurors, Ingrid Wicken, hugged Nazario's sobbing mother, Sandra Montanez, without speaking after the verdict was read. "I watched her all week. She was being tortured every day," Wicken said later.
Wicken said the panel acquitted Nazario because there was not enough evidence against him.
"I think you don't know what goes on in combat until you are in combat," she said.
Nazario's attorney, Kevin McDermott, said he believes the verdict will curb faulty filings.
"I don't think they are going to put on a case in the future with a lack of evidence," McDermott said.
FROM THE BBC
US jury acquits US ex-marine
Two marines refused to testify against Mr Nazario
In a landmark trial, a US federal jury has cleared a former marine sergeant of the deaths of Iraqi detainees.
The trial of Jose Luis Nazario is the first time a civilian jury has decided on the alleged crimes of a former US soldier while he was on active duty.
Mr Nazario, 28, was charged with voluntary manslaughter and assault over the deaths of four unarmed Iraqis in 2004 during the battle for Falluja.
The California trial used a law passed to prosecute civilian contractors.
Several marines had alleged that Mr Nazario shot dead two Iraqi men who had been detained while his squad searched a house in the city of Falluja.
He is alleged to have ordered two other marines to shoot two other unarmed prisoners.
But the prosecution’s case fell apart when two marines refused to testify. Marines Jermaine Nelson and Ryan Weemer were found in contempt of court.
The jury took six hours to decide that Mr Nazario was not guilty.
His lawyer, Kevin McDermott, had told the jury that they could not convict Mr Nazario for an alleged crime in which there were no bodies, no identities for the alleged victims and no forensic evidence of any deaths.
Mr Nazario, who left the US Marine Corps in 2006, had faced up to 10 years in jail if found guilty of all the charges against him.
Two active service marines allegedly involved in the same incident face courts martial later this year.
The AP ban was lifted by JimRob, I think. Post away!
I hope this is the straw that breaks Murtha’s butt.
Great News, updates from BBC at post 4
Do you have a link for this?
post 3, the auto post function told me I couldn’t post AP, so I added a link to a BBC site with the info andf a link
That, my friends, was done typing in the dark.
"..The case came to light in 2006, when Nazario's former squadmate, Sgt. Ryan Weemer, volunteered details to a U.S. Secret Service job interviewer during a lie-detector screening that included a question about the most serious crime he ever committed. Weemer was ordered this month to stand trial in military court on charges of unpremeditated murder and dereliction of duty in the killing of an unarmed detainee in Fallujah. He has pleaded not guilty.
According to a Naval Criminal Investigative Service criminal complaint, several Marines allege Nazario shot two Iraqi men who had been detained while his squad searched a house. The complaint claims four Iraqi men were killed during the action. .."
This is how it got started.
GOOD NEWS!!! But still on its face, this form of trial was a travesty of justice. Jury of your peers anyone?
And a wise jury.
Two more coverages on Nazario; Yahoo and BBC above.
So far, our feckless Feds have failed to get a single conviction and have succeeded only in achieving a further reduction in public confidence.
What a gaggle of losers.
Just heard the great news! And it only took a short time to come to that conclusion too! Congratulations to Sgt. Nazario and his team!