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Marine Arraigned on Manslaughter Charges in Haditha Case

A staff sergeant based at Southern California's Camp Pendleton marine base was officially arraigned on manslaughter charges Wednesday for his role in the death of 24 Iraqi civilians. KPBS Reporter Eri

A staff sergeant based at Southern California's Camp Pendleton marine base was officially arraigned on manslaughter charges Wednesday for his role in the death of 24 Iraqi civilians. KPBS Reporter Erik Anderson has details.

Staff Sergeant Frank Wueterich was the leader of squad involved in a vicious firefight in Haditha Iraq. The shooting began after a roadside bomb exploded while a marine convoy was passing. The driver of a humvee died and two other marines were wounded. In the fighting that followed, two dozen Iraqi civilians were killed, including women and children. 

Weuterich faces charges linked to deaths of nine people. He's accused of personally killing eight people and ordering a fellow marine to kill another. 

Prosecutors say the staff sergeant shot five men near the roadside explosion and then ordered marines to clear several nearby houses with grenades and gunfire. His trial is expected to begin at the end of February.

Erik Anderson KPBS News.

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