Investigating Officer's Report Of Charges Under Article 32: LCpl Justin Sharratt (Jul. 6, 2007)
... In analyzing the evidence, I read several hundred pages of interviews, documents, articles and statements (IE 33-105). Ultimately, there is only one statement by an eye witness to the events, LCpl Sharratt, and his version of events is strongly corroborated by independent forensic analysis of the death scene. The government version is unsupported by independent evidence and while each statement has within it corroboration, several factors together reduces the credibility of such statements to incredible. In addition, the statements of the Iraqis are unclear, contradictory in part, and simply state self-interested conclusions as to what occurred within house 4. Finally, to believe the government version of facts is to disregard clear and convincing evidence to the contrary and sets a dangerous precedent that, in my opinion, may encourage others to bear false witness against Marines as a tactic to erode public support of the Marine Corps and mission in Iraq. Even more dangerous is the potential that a Marine may hesitate at the critical moment when facing the enemy.The Haditha Charges: Symbol of a War Gone Bad By TONY KARON (Dec. 22, 2006)
Much effort during the Article 32 focused on whether the victims were insurgents. Although determining if they were may have some bearing on the credibility of the Iraqi witnesses and may support that LCpl Sharratt did perceive a hostile situation within house 4, such determinations are not necessary to conclude that LCpl Sharratt is truthful in his account. From as early as February 2006 LCpl Sharratt's statements are supported by the forensic evidence. It is likely that members of the Ahmed family were either insurgents on 19 November 2005, or that they were attempting to defend their house and family when Marines entered house 4 uninvited and unannounced. On that fateful afternoon, Jasib heard someone enter house 4. He investigated with his AK-47 in his hands. LCpl Sharratt saw him and perceived him as a threat. Using his training he responded instinctively, assaulting into the room emptying his pistol. Whether this was a brave act of combat against the enemy or tragedy of misperception born out of conducting combat with an enemy that hides among innocents, LCpl Sharratt's actions were in accord with the rules of engagement and use of force.
Accordingly I recommend that the Charge and specifications be dismissed without prejudice. I further recommend that LCpl Sharratt be given testimonial immunity and ordered to cooperate with ongoing investigations concerning the events of 19 November 2005.
Official Complaint filed against John Murtha by Frank Wuterich (Aug. 2, 2006)
Murtha's Own Words (May 17 & 21, 2006)
Collateral Damage or Civilian Massacre in Haditha? By TIM MCGIRK (Mar. 19, 2006)