Thursday, May 26, 2005


Marine Cleared in Deaths of Two Iraqis

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - A former Wall Street trader who rejoined the Marines after the Sept. 11 attacks will not be tried on murder charges for killing two suspected Iraqi insurgents, a Marine general decided Thursday.

“The best interests of 2nd Lt. Pantano and the government have been served by this process,” the Marine Corps said in a statement.

The decision by Maj. Gen. Richard Huck, commander of the 2nd Marine Division based at Camp Lejeune, ends the prosecution of 2nd Lt. Ilario Pantano, whom prosecutors accused of killing the men without justification.

“Down at the unit level, there was never a question about Ilario’s conduct and whether or not he did the right thing,” Charles Gittins, Pantano’s civilian lawyer, said. “It was up in the higher echelons. The people removed from combat situations needed to put more trust in their officers rather than assuming they’re guilty.”

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