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May 26, 2005

Murder Charges Dropped Against US Marine Pantano

Posted in: Military,War on Terror

The long ordeal for Lt. Pantano, who was accused of murdering two Iraqi insurgents outside a suspected terrorist hideout in Mahmudiyah, Iraq is over.

From AP via Fox News

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 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.

An Article 32 hearing, the military equivalent of a grand jury session, was held in April. In a report dated May 12, the hearing officer, Lt. Col. Mark Winn, had recommended that the murder charges be dropped.

The reaction from Pantano’s family was joy:

“That’s exciting, isn’t it,” said Pantano’s mother, Merry Pantano of New York, who said she hadn’t yet spoken to her son about the decision. “Needless to say, we are quite ecstatic.”

ABC News:

More than a half-dozen Marines who served with Pantano in Iraq praised him in testimony, saying he was an able leader who remained cool in combat and was amiable with Iraqis.

“I think (the decision) demonstrates that Ilario acted honorably in combat and the suggestion that he didn’t that tarnished his reputation was unjustified,” Gittins said. “I’m pleased for Ilario and his family because the nightmare is over.”

Michelle Malkin has more great information on this story including other news service links, Lt. Pantano’s family’s website, Defend the Defenders and milblogger reporting on the case.

Agreed Michelle, Thank God common sense was used and justice was served for Lt. Pantano.

Update: Euphoric Reality has an exclusive interview with Lt. Pantano’s lawyer, Charles Gittins, must read.

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