More USA war crimes... 

More USA war crimes...

More and more evidence is popping out.


U.S. Marine charged with lying about killing two Iraqis

ADAM GOLDMAN, Associated Press Writer

(01-09) 15:44 PST LAS VEGAS (AP) --

A Marine has been charged with making false statements after he said he shot an Iraqi soldier twice in the back of the head and killed another following a grenade attack on his comrades in Baghdad last year.

Gunnery Sgt. Gus Covarrubias, 39, of Las Vegas, will face an Article 32 hearing in which a senior military officer could decide to proceed with a court martial or dismiss the charges.

The charges stem from statements Covarrubias made to military officials while being questioned about a story he told a reporter, military officials said in a statement released by the Marine Forces Reserve Public Affairs Unit in New Orleans.

Covarrubias, who was charged Thursday, remains on active duty, Marine spokesman Capt. Jeffrey Pool said Friday from Naval Support Activity, New Orleans.

Covarrubias is stationed at a Las Vegas reserve training center with Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Marines. The unit is part of the 4th Marine Division. He said he joined the Marines in 1983.

Efforts to reach Covarrubias through his unit on Friday were unsuccessful, and his home phone number has been changed. It was not known if Covarrubias had hired a lawyer.

Military officials with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service launched an inquiry after Covarrubias described the alleged shootings in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal shortly after he returned from Iraq in April.

The uncorroborated tale led investigators to suspect that Covarrubias might have committed a war crime.

"I'm not vindictive, and I might get in trouble for telling you this, but I take it very personally when you do that to my family," Covarrubias told the newspaper. "The Marines are my family."

Covarrubias recounted an intense battle in Baghdad on April 8, when he said he hunted down an Iraqi Republican Guard soldier who fired a rocket-propelled grenade at his unit. The blast injured several U.S. soldiers, including Covarrubias, who said he received a concussion.

Covarrubias told the paper he found the Iraqi soldier with the grenade launcher, shot him twice in the back of the head, then killed another Iraqi soldier who tried to escape. He also said he had served as a sniper, registering more than 30 kills during the first Gulf War.

All of Covarrubias' statements will be examined at the Article 32 hearing, Pool said.

Review-Journal Editor Thomas Mitchell said the newspaper made efforts to check the story and was satisfied based on the inquiries that Covarrubias was credible. "We had no reason to disbelieve it," he said.

He acknowledged there were no witnesses and the story was based on Covarrubias's account.

Mitchell said it's not clear what specific statements Covarrubias has been accused of lying about.

"At this point, we're going to report the story like everyone else" and wait for the results of the hearing, he said.

No date has been set for the hearing, which will take place at the Marine Corps Air/Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif., Pool said.

At the hearing, Covarrubias is guaranteed the right to counsel. He may present evidence, call defense witnesses and cross-examine government witnesses, military officials said.


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