Staff Sergeant (SSgt) Justin Laughner testified that he was instructed by his superior, 1stLt Andrew Grayson, to erase photographs of the dead women and children in Haditha. The staff sergeant testified that “It just didn’t seem right . . . To me, it looked like destroying evidence . . .” Nonetheless, SSgt Laughner deleted the images from his computer, but the same image files on his camera were not deleted.
SSgt Laughner was testifying in the Article 32 investigation (equivalent to a civilian grand jury) into charges against LtCol Chessani. LtCol Chessani is charged with violation of a lawful order and dereliction of duty. All of the charges relate to failing to report alleged violations of the laws of war to higher authorities. Lawyers for LtCol Chessani contend that he never saw the pictures.