Marine officer in Haditha case leaves service

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — A Camp Pendleton Marine officer who was accused of failing to investigate the killings of 24 Iraqis by a squad in the town of Haditha has left the service.

Attorney Jon Shelburne says Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani’s last day in the Corps was Friday.

Shelburne said Monday that Navy Secretary Ray Mabus recently upheld a ruling that the former battalion commander displayed substandard performance in response to the deaths but should maintain his rank.
Chessani, of Rangely, Colo., was accused of failing to investigate the 2005 killings but a judge dismissed a charge of dereliction of duty.

In all, eight Marines were charged with murder or failure to investigate. Six had charges dropped or dismissed, and one was acquitted. The squad leader faces reduced charges of voluntary manslaughter and other crimes.



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