San Diego A Marine accused of murdering Iraqi civilians, including children, in the town of Haditha should have all charges dropped against him because of weak evidence, an investigating officer recommended Thursday.
Lance Cpl. Stephen B. Tatum, 26, is charged with unpremeditated murder of two girls and negligent homicide on suspicion that he unlawfully killed two men, a woman and a boy. He is also accused of assaulting another boy and a girl.
The investigating officer, Lt. Col. Paul Ware, said the evidence was too weak for a court-martial. Tatum, of Edmond, Okla., shot and killed civilians, but "he did so because of his training and the circumstances he was placed in, not to exact revenge and commit murder," Ware wrote.
Ware's recommendation is nonbinding. Lt. Gen. James Mattis, the commanding general overseeing the case, has final say about whether Tatum will be court-martialed.