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Charges reduced for U.S. marine in Haditha killings

A staff sergeant will face a court-martial on reduced charges stemming from the deaths of 24 Iraqis in the town of Haditha in 2005, the Marine Corps announced Monday.

A staff sergeant will face a court-martial on reduced charges stemming from the deaths of 24 Iraqis in the town of Haditha in 2005, the Marine Corps announced Monday.

Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, 27, of Meriden, Conn., will stand trial on charges of voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, dereliction of duty and obstruction of justice. No trial date was set.

Earlier charges— unpremeditated murder, soliciting another to commit an offence and making a false official statement— were dismissed by Lt.-Gen. Samuel Helland, commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Central Command.

Another Marine, 1st Lt. Andrew Grayson, was ordered to court-martial on charges of making false official statements, obstruction of justice and attempting to fraudulently separate from the Marine Corps.

Four enlisted Marines were initially charged with murder in the case and four officers were charged with failing to investigate the deaths. Charges against several of the men have been dropped and none will face murder charges.

The killings occurred after a roadside bomb hit a Marine convoy, killing the driver of a Humvee and wounding two other Marines.

Wuterich's squad allegedly shot five men at the scene. Wuterich then ordered his men into several nearby houses, where they cleared rooms with grenades and gunfire, killing unarmed civilians.