Marine accepts plea deal in Iraqi civilian deaths

Posted Jan. 23, 2012, at 8:59 p.m.

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — A Marine sergeant who told his troops to “shoot first, ask questions later” in a raid that killed unarmed Iraqi women, children and elderly pleaded guilty Monday in a deal that will carry no more than three months confinement and end the largest and longest-running criminal case against U.S. troops from the Iraq War.

The agreement marked a stunning and muted end to the case once described as the Iraq War’s version of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam. The government failed to get one manslaughter conviction in the case that implicated eight Marines in the deaths of 24 Iraqis in the town of Haditha in 2005.

Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, 31, of Meriden, Conn., who was originally accused of unpremeditated murder, pleaded guilty to negligent dereliction of duty for leading his troops to disregard rules of combat when they raided homes after a roadside bomb exploded near their convoy, killing one Marine and wounding two others.

Ill. senator undergoes surgery after stroke

CHICAGO — U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., underwent surgery Monday at Northwestern Memorial Hospital after suffering a stroke.

“On Saturday, Senator Kirk checked himself into Lake Forest Hospital, where doctors discovered a carotid artery dissection in the right side of his neck,” his office said in a statement.

Dr. Richard Fessler said Kirk was beginning to “deteriorate neurologically” Sunday night and doctors decided to operate. A portion of his skull was removed to relieve pressure.

The stroke affected Kirk’s left arm and left leg and caused some facial distortion, the doctor said, adding he was hopeful “all those functions will be intact” as Kirk recovers.

 

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