Sharratt's grand jury-type hearing is the first of the enlisted men charged with murder in the killings at Haditha on November 19, 2005. [snip]
Because of time and security concerns, [one of the N.C.I.S. investigators] said, she had interviewed six family members at once, gathering testimony that would form the case against Corporal Sharratt. [snip]
James D. Culp, a civilian lawyer defending Corporal Sharratt, suggested that group interviews had been "contradictory to everything you have been taught." Ms. Mannle said she did not have time to conduct separate interviews or review her notes before the marines said it was time to leave.
She did not record the interview, she said, because she could not find a recorder, but when pressed by Mr. Culp, she said she never sought to buy one from the post exchange.
An N.C.I.S. spokesman, Ed Buice, said in an e-mail message that no federal law enforcement agency regularly taped interviews. [snip]
The North County Times, near Camp Pendleton, adds vital information from the hearing that the New York Times didn't find fit to print.
A lance corporal charged with murder in the shooting deaths of three Iraqi brothers in 2005 passed a polygraph examination in which he said the first man he shot was holding an AK-47 assault rifle, according to testimony heard in a base courtroom Tuesday.
The test, administered in Iraq in April 2006, showed there was no apparent deception in an account provided by Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt, Naval Criminal Investigative Service Special Agent Nayda Mannle testified.
Sharratt's attorneys strived Tuesday to show inconsistencies in the government's investigation, focusing many of their questions on why agents did not pursue full background reports on the men who died inside the fourth home, particularly one man who worked on the Jordanian border and may have had several Jordanian passports in his possession.
Mannle, who is a civilian agent, said such checks probably should have been done and agreed that agents can still try to piece that information together. But she also said that none of the 24 victims who died in Haditha had any known ties to the insurgency.
"We ran them through the database and all came up as negative for insurgents," she said during telephonic testimony from an office in the Pentagon. [snip]
The defense also is trying to show that forensic evidence from where the Iraqi men died is inconsistent with an account given by their surviving family members, who told investigators the men were herded into a room and executed in rapid succession. Sharratt has disputed that account.
Instead, the forensics from the government investigation show that one of the slain men was apparently hiding inside a closet and bullet holes are scattered on a wall throughout that room. The defense contends that dispels the allegation of an execution-style slaying.
The San Diego Union-Tribune's coverage described the Naval investigator's acceptance of the colluded stories of Haditha family members over that of the Marines.
Mannle said the Ahmed family members' accounts seemed consistent and truthful.
The San Diego Union-Tribune, also, managed to cover testimony that the New York Times didn't see worthy of print:
Sharratt's attorneys hammered at what they viewed as omissions and shortcomings by the naval investigators. During cross-examination, Mannle acknowledged that Sharratt had passed a polygraph exam concerning whether any of the Ahmed brothers pointed a rifle at him.
She also said time constraints prompted by the extreme danger to foreigners in Haditha prevented her from separating the Ahmed family members before questioning them, which is standard procedure in crime investigations.
In addition, Mannle confirmed that Marines seized several AK-47 rifles and a suitcase allegedly containing Jordanian passports from the Ahmed compound the day of the killings. She said her agency wasn't able to track down these items, which might have linked the Ahmed brothers to insurgent activity.