Taking the stand in the murder case of three enlisted Marines, Sgt. Sanick P. Dela Cruz testified Wednesday that he witnessed his squad leader shoot and kill five civilians in Haditha, Iraq, on Nov. 19, 2005—the day 24 Iraqi civilians were killed by U.S. troops.
Sgt. Sanick P. Dela Cruz said that in the moments after a roadside bomb hit a Humvee in his convoy Nov. 19, 2005, killing a comrade, he saw five men standing by a white car with their hands interlocked behind their heads. The squad leader, Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich, then fired about six to eight rounds at the men, Dela Cruz testified.
“They were just standing, looking around, had hands up,” Dela Cruz said. “Then I saw one of them drop in the middle. I didn’t know what was going on, sir. Looked to my left, saw Staff Sgt. Wuterich shooting.”
Dela Cruz spoke at a preliminary hearing for Capt. Randy W. Stone, a Marine lawyer from Dunkirk, Md. Stone is accused along with three other officers of dereliction of duty for failing to investigate the deaths.