Friday, August 29, 2008
NOTE: The two Marines that allegedly saw Nazario kill the detainees refused to testify.
Jurors wept and embraced former Marine Jose Luis Nazario Jr. after acquitting him of voluntary manslaughter in the killings of unarmed Iraqi detainees during a fierce 2004 battle.
Tears rolled down Nazario's cheeks and courtroom spectators openly sobbed and cheered Thursday. He is the first U.S. veteran tried by a civilian court for alleged actions in combat.
It's been a long, hard year for my family," Nazario said outside the courtroom. "I need a moment to catch my breath and try to get my life back together."
Jurors took less than six hours over two days to find the former sergeant not guilty of charges that he killed or caused others to kill four detainees in Fallujah, Iraq, on Nov. 9, 2004. The detainees were shot during a battle — marked by house-to-house fighting — that was considered one of the fiercest of the Iraq war.