Thursday, February 17, 2005

Witness Partially Corroborates Pantano

Gaijin Biker at Riding Sun has more news on the Ilario Pantano story:

The new information is, to varying degrees, troubling. But the key point is, we now have three different versions of what happened:

• Pantano says the Iraqis disobeyed his order to stop, and he shot them as they were moving toward him.

• The Navy witness agrees the Iraqis disobeyed Pantano's order to stop, but claims he shot them as they were moving away from him.

• And the accuser claims Pantano essentially executed the Iraqis, shooting them in the back in cold blood.
Of the three conflictin stories, the accuser's seem least able to fit the facts, as pointed out in the article by Pantano's attorney:
Gittins contends, however, that no one was relieved of guarding the Iraqis or told to turn away, and the Iraqis were shot all over their bodies – their backs, sides and fronts – with many rounds.
And it seems that the Marine corps may be backing away from the murder charge, according to the Washington Times:
Last week, the Corps initially announced that 2nd Lt. Ilario Pantano faced unspecified charges in the shooting deaths. Lt. Pantano's civilian attorney, Charles Gittins, told reporters his client faced two murder charges.

But later, spokesman Maj. Matt Morgan, at Camp Lejeune, N.C., where Lt. Pantano is based, said the officer had not been charged.

This came as a surprise to Mr. Gittins, who said he has a copy of the official charge sheet signed by a prosecuting judge advocate that was handed to his client Feb. 1. On the sheet, it clearly states the Marine Corps has charged the 33-year-old officer with two counts of murder.
Thanks to Gaijin Biker for the update (via email).

No comments: