Haditha Update: LCpl Tatum’s Article 32 Day 2

On 17 July 2007, the Article 32 Investigation of LCpl Tatum entered its second day. LCpl Humberto Mendoza, a fellow memeber of 3/1, testified aginst LCpl Tatum. LCpl Mendoza recounted how he told LCpl Tatum that there were only women and childern in the room and later retuned to the room to find them dead, all killed by LCpl Tatum.

LCpl Mendoza was testifying under a grant of immunity. Additionally, his testimony contrasted sharply with his prior statements to an Army colonel investigating the incident and prior statements he had made to NCIS. LCpl Mendoza explained the earlier statments were lies, and that he had decided to now tell the truth after prompting by his lawyer, in order to receive immunity.

Sgt Sanick P. Dela Cruz also testifed. He explained that he disapproved of the conduct of the war, wishing that Marines had more leeway to fire their weapons. Sgt Dela Cruz’ murder and false official statement charges were dismissed on 2 April 2007.

The investigating officer is LtCol Ware, who was also the investigating officer in LCpl Sharratt’s Article 32, wherein he recommended no charges.

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Filed under Haditha, Iraq, Military Justice, Military Law

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