Marine says urinated on dead
Iraqi at Haditha
By Marty Graham
-- - CAMP PENDLETON, Calif., May 9 (Reuters) - Angered that
a beloved member of his squad had been killed in an explosion, a
U.S. Marine urinated on one of the 24 dead Iraqi civilians
killed by his unit in Haditha, the Marine testified on
Sgt. Sanick Dela Cruz, who has immunity from prosecution after
murder charges against him were dismissed, also said he watched
his squad leader shoot down five Iraqi civilians who were trying
In dramatic testimony in a pretrial hearing for one of the seven
Marines charged in the Nov. 2005 Haditha killings and alleged
cover-up, Dela Cruz described his bitterness after a roadside
bomb ripped Lance Cpl. Miguel Terrazas, known as T.J., into two
"I know it was a bad thing what I've done, but I done it because
I was angry T.J. was dead and I pissed on one Iraqi's head,"
said an unemotional Dela Cruz in a military courtroom in Camp
Pendleton, north of San Diego, California.
Dela Cruz also said he watched squad leader Sgt. Frank Wuterich
shoot five men whose hands were tied up near a car. Dela Cruz
said he also shot the five men as they laid on the ground.
Wuterich "walked to me and told me that if anybody asked, they
were running away and the Iraqi Army shot them," Dela Cruz
Three Marines have been charged with murder, and four officers
have been charged with dereliction of duty and obstructing the
Prosecutors contend the killings were revenge for Terrazas'
death, while the Marines charged say it was a clearing
operation, conducted under lawful orders, that had disastrous
Squad leader Wuterich's lawyer later called Dela Cruz's
"It's about the fourth or fifth version of events we've heard
from Sgt. Dela Cruz. It's false, of course," Neal Puckett said
in an e-mail. "It's just so sad that he is being required to
testify against his fellow Marine NCO in order to guarantee his
freedom. He's a victim, too."
ASKED TO LIE
The Marine Corps initially reported the deaths as a result of
the bombing and a firefight with insurgents. Reporting by Time
magazine in January 2006 later prompted the Marine Corps to
investigate the killings.
Dela Cruz said he was asked four times to lie about what
happened in Haditha, although no one asked him about the
killings for a time.
A Chicago native, Dela Cruz saw intense action in his first Iraq
tour of duty in 2004. A Marine Corps News article once featured
him as one of the unsung heroes of the Iraq war.
Wednesday's hearing focused on Capt. Randy Stone, who served as
the legal advisor for the Kilo Company. Stone, 34, is charged
with violating an order and two counts of dereliction of duty in
connection with the killings.
On Nov. 19, a convoy of Marines from the Kilo Company was
traveling through the town of Haditha when a roadside bomb
detonated, killing Terrazas and injuring two others. Surviving
Marines stopped a car and shot its five occupants, then swept
through two houses, killing the people inside.
According to testimony, the five men in the vehicle were the
first of the 24 victims. Dela Cruz said that after he helped
Wuterich shoot the men, he went in one direction with Iraqi
soldiers while Wuterich went in another direction.
Another Marine, Sgt. Albert Espinosa, testified on Wednesday
that he pressed for an investigation of the killings almost
immediately after it occurred in November 2005.
He testified Wednesday that he was frustrated by the apparent
indifference of his commanding officers. "We deserve an answer
to what happened and wasn't happy with the answers I was
getting," 1st Sgt. Albert Espinosa testified.
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