Monday, May 02, 2005

Prosecutor Accuses Pantano of Killing Iraqis to Set an Example

Prosecutor not calling for death penalty
Lieutenant Ilario Pantano, the Marine facing capital murder charges in the deaths of two detainees who he says were a threat to him, has been accused by prosecutors at his military hearing of killing the Iraqis to set an example. From the Scotsman (UK)
Speaking at the hearing in North Carolina, prosecutor Major Stephen Keane said: "There’s no other reason why this stellar lieutenant would have used such poor judgment. It is not up to a second lieutenant to violate the law of war and make an example of people he believes are bad."

Pantano claims he acted in self-defence after the men moved towards him. "Lt Pantano has told this to virtually every person who asked him," defence lawyer Charles Gittins said in his closing statement. "He did exactly what he was required to do under the circumstances."

After his closing argument, Major Keane said he did not believe the crime deserved the death penalty.
Meanwhile, Pantano's chief accuser had this to say:
However, Sgt Coburn also acknowledged that Pantano had stripped him of his job as squad leader and elevated a lower-ranking marine to replace him. He said he believed his last evaluation, written by Pantano and reviewed by two higher-ranking officers, was a "career-ender".
Again, President Bush has the authority to end these proceedings and the investigation of Pantano. He should do so.