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Marine faces court-martial in deaths

Dayton Daily News, December 31, 2007

Marine faces court-martial in deaths

Charges related to alleged botched investigation into 2005 killings of 24 Iraqi citizens

By Anthony Gottschlich, Staff Writer

Monday, December 31, 2007

Springboro High School graduate and Marine 1st Lt. Andrew Grayson will face a court-martial on charges related to the deaths of 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha in 2005, the Marine Corps announced Monday.

Grayson, 26, will stand trial on charges of making false official statements, obstruction of justice and attempting to fraudulently obtain his discharge last summer.

Grayson was not present during the Nov. 19, 2005 incident in which four Marines allegedly killed 24 Iraqi citizens with grenades and gunfire after a roadside bomb hit a Marine convoy, killing the driver and wounding two other Marines.

Grayson, an intelligence officer, is accused of botching the investigation and ordering the destruction of photographs connected to the case.

The 1999 Springboro graduate and Panthers running back could not be reached for comment, nor could his attorney, San Diego-based Joseph Casas.

In a December 2006 interview, Grayson told the Dayton Daily News he was "sad, taken aback and definitely surprised by the allegations."

David Allender, founder of the Web site DefendOurMarines.com, called the case against Grayson and others "an absolute sham."

"(Grayson) was an officer who had no contact with the accused enlisted men, who was never at the scene, whose work led to the capture of those responsible for the (roadside bomb), and who had nothing to 'cover up,' " Allender said.

Grayson previously had been recommended for the Bronze Star medal because of his actions on the day of the killings, his attorney said last year.

Casas said the nomination praised Grayson for learning of two other roadside bombs from Iraqis he questioned after the attacks. He was also cited for obtaining information that led to the capture of two men who detonated the bomb that sparked the violence.

Four enlisted Marines were initially charged with murder in the case and four officers were charged with failing to investigate the deaths. Charges against several of the men have been dropped and none will face murder charges.