As the investigation moved into its fifth day Special Agent Micheal Maloney, of NCIS, was called as a witness by the prosecution. SA Maloney testified that 17 bullets had been fired by the Marines that day at Haditha, Iraq. The women were killed first and the children were shot as they tried to escape. On cross-examination, SA Maloney admitted that he based his conclusions of photographs and a visit to the scene four months after the incident, and there there was not physical evidence at the scene. The Article 32 investigation will continue on 23Jul07.
LCpl Tatum is charged with 2 specifications of unpremeditated murder, Art. 118, UCMJ, 4 specifications of negligent homicide, Art 134, UCMJ, and 1 specification of assault, Art. 128, UCMJ. In the military justice system, “specifications” are similar to counts. Thus, in this case LCpl Tatum is charged with the murder of two individuals. LCpl Tatum is currently going through an Article 32 Investigation, which is to a grand jury in the civilian sector. The investigating officer will make a recommendation on charges, or no charges, to the Convening Authority, in this case LtGen Mattis. LtGen Mattis will then determine which, if any, charges to send to a court-martial.
More information about the military justice system is available here.