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Ilario Pantano's Article 32 hearing ends

The Article 32 pretrial hearing for Marine 2nd Lt. Ilario Pantano ended Saturday. Pantano is accused of murdering two Iraqi insurgents by shooting them in what Marine prosecutors say was cold blood, not self-defense.

The fact that Pantano emptied two magazines of ammunition into the insurgents, reloading and continuing to shoot after they were dead, has not helped his case. And his statement that he shot them so many times in order to "send a message" to other insurgents certainly made the prosecution's job a lot easier. But in a sign that the Marines may be preparing to show at least some degree of mercy to Pantano, prosecutor Maj. Stephen Keane called him a "stellar lieutenant" even while claiming he violated the laws of war. And crucially, Keane said that he doesn't think Pantano should face the death penalty.

After a review of the hearing, which could take a week or more, the investigating officer will issue a recommendation as to whether Pantano should face a court-martial.




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