Marine Officer Could Face Demotion

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    AP
    United States Marine Lt. Col. Jeffrey R. Chessani walks to a preliminary hearing.

    A Marine Corps colonel overseeing a hearing for an officer accused of failing to investigate the deaths of 24 Iraqi civilians is considering whether photos of the dead can come into evidence.

    The administrative panel for Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani began Wednesday at Camp Pendleton, four years after the 2005 killings of the Haditha civilians.

    The panel must determine if Chessani, of Rangely, Colo., should be demoted in retirement, which could cost him a significant amount in pension and other benefits.

    Col. Kurt Brubaker also overruled defense objections to one of the three military panelists.

    Chessani was originally charged with dereliction of duty for failing to investigate the killings. But a judge dismissed the charges, saying a general overseeing the case had improper contact with an investigator.