Thursday, April 9, 2009

Marine acquitted of murder in Iraq slaying

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – A military jury on Thursday acquitted a Marine sergeant on charges of murdering an unarmed detainee during battle in Fallujah, Iraq. The jury also acquitted Sgt. Ryan Weemer of dereliction of duty in the November 2004 death.
The panel of eight Marines who served in Iraq or Afghanistan got the case Wednesday and deliberated more than four hours.
Weemer, of Hindsboro, Ill., could have faced a maximum sentence of life in prison and dishonorable discharge if convicted of murder. The maximum sentence for dereliction is six months in prison and a bad conduct discharge.
In closing arguments Wednesday, a defense attorney said the 26-year-old Weemer acted in self-defense.
The prosecutor, Capt. Nicholas Gannon, recounted that Weemer said in recorded interviews that he shot the man and told a squadmate that he would have to live with that for the rest of his life.
Weemer also said in interviews that he and other Marines shot a total of four men in a house after their squad suffered its first fatality.
"I can't bring you an autopsy report," Gannon said. "I don't have one, but we have a lot of evidence that shows you beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused shot an individual in the chest twice.... The killing was unlawful."
The prosecutor told jurors they should convict Weemer of lesser charges of voluntary manslaughter or assault if they acquit him of murder.
During the one-week court-martial, the defense argued that the government could not prove Weemer killed the unarmed captive because there are no bodies, no relatives complaining of a lost loved one and no forensic evidence.
Weemer's civilian attorney, Paul Hackett, said in his closing argument that Weemer fired while he and other Marines were trying to seize a house from insurgents. He recounted testimony and statements of Weemer's squadmates that portrayed a confusing scene.
"This was chaos!" he said. "(The detainees) were not cooperating. If they're not cooperating, they're not under control. If they're not under control, they pose a threat to these Marines."
Hackett told jurors to be skeptical of a 2006 recorded interview that Weemer gave to Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents in which he describes shooting the detainee. He said one agent was an experienced interrogator who knew how to wear Weemer down.
"It is a very, very, very complicated, confusing interview," Hackett said.
Weemer told two NCIS agents that he was covered with the blood of his best friend, who had been killed by a sniper, just before his squad leader ordered him to kill the prisoner, according to a tape recording played at the court martial.
"I grabbed a gun and took him to the back of the house," Weemer, 26, said on the tape. "I shot him twice in the chest."
Weemer said he argued with his squad leader, former Sgt. Jose Luis Nazario, before complying with the order to kill the man, who was taken prisoner when Marines stormed a house on the first day of the assault on Fallujah.
"I definitely wasn't the type to disobey an order," he said.
Last August, Nazario was acquitted in Riverside federal court of killing two prisoners and ordering Weemer and another Marine to each kill one.
Another sergeant, Jermaine Nelson, has pleaded not guilty to unpremeditated murder and dereliction of duty, but his court-martial has been indefinitely postponed because of a flurry of last-minute motions filed by his attorney.

REPLY: 1st I have to say read Kevin Sites book " In The Zone. One Man, One Year, Twenty Wars". Even in the 1st few chapters you will see the real side of things that have happened. 2nd at this moment I personaly know a PFC that is in jail for this same matter at hand. Difference is he wasn't the shooter, 2 other PFC's were and said they were. They also told the court that my friend did not shoot. The courts told him either plead guilty and hopefully get out in around 6-9 years or don't and plan on being there for 18- 25 years. They gave him no time to think about it. He was barely 21, scared and didn't know what to do. So he pled guilty hopeing that the truth would set him free. He's been there for over 3 years now.

He finally had a hearing and awaits the outcome. If they don't let him go he has to wait a year to file again. They bullied him into saying he did something he did not do. I know him very well, he is not a murder. Corey Clagett is his name. Look him up and you'll see what I'm talking about. He has many people pulling for him but not enough. Even Doctors, a radio DJ, an Author and many more know what I know and are trying to help him. I speak to him about once a week, I write him as much as I can. People have come and gone while he's been there. 1st saying they would support him and write him then slowly they fade away leaving him feeling even more alone. He has changed in these 3 years into someone else. He's angry (wouldn't you be?) and our hopes are that when he gets out that he can be helped to have a normal life again. There are a few of us that won't give up on him.

It makes me ill to know what has been done to him. I'll spare you the details about how they treat him (just think of how helpless you could be and can't do anything about it but just take it). I hope this reaches a few people and they too try to free a free man but hope is something that fades fast when you ask people to help in these matters. People either don't want to hear it, don't care, don't want to be bothered to do anything that might help, are to selfish and involved in their own lives to take any time to do something because they don't get anything out of it and much more. I have seen the UGLY side of humans (so many). I've also seen the good side. The good ones are out numbered 20 to 1 but those who fall in that 1 work 20 times as hard to do whats right. The blinders people wear do it by choice!!!!

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