No sooner do I say that there have been no significant developments in the Ilario Pantano case, than the Washington Times comes out with more information.
This Times article claims to be based on documents that describe or include the sworn statements of "eyewitnesses" to Pantano's shooting of two Iraqi insurgents. Apparently, however, those statements reveal that neither of the two witnesses the allegedly disgruntled Marine sergeant and a Navy corpsman actually saw the first shots being fired:
"While I took my security post, I heard Lt. Pantano yell stop [in Arabic] directed towards the two Iraqi men searching the vehicle. He yelled stop. Lt. Pantano yelled stop, and then, I heard shots fired," said the eyewitness, a Navy corpsman in Lt. Pantano's platoon, in a sworn statement.Notably, since the Navy corpsman witnessed the insurgents fleeing after Pantano's first shots were fired, it appears those first shots were warning shots not meant to hit or kill. At the very least, the corpsman's story supports Pantano's contention that he clearly warned the Iraqis to stop moving before he shot them.
"I quickly turned towards the vehicle, Lt. Pantano's position, and witnessed the men attempting to flee away from the vehicle away from where Lt. Pantano was standing."
And, importantly, the Marine sergeant, who filed the complaint against Pantano, admits he had his back turned when Pantano fired the first shots:
"As soon as I turned my back, Lt. Pantano opened [fire on] them with approximately 45 rounds," the sergeant said. "After the shooting, Lt. Pantano let everyone know on the [radio] that he was the one that shot. ... Me and [the corpsman] were both shocked about what just happened."This story isn't over yet, but the information available so far seems to be to be leaning against the sergeant's earlier allegations of a gruesome, premeditated execution.