A military judge has recommended no time in confinement for a Marine sergeant who pleaded guilty to negligent dereliction of duty in assaults by his squad that killed 24 unarmed Iraqis after a roadside bomb killed a Marine in the town of Haditha in 2005.
The judge's decision Tuesday at Camp Pendleton, Calif., now goes to the commander of the Marine Corps Forces Central Command for approval.
Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich of Meriden, Conn., entered the plea Monday in a deal that ended a voluntary manslaughter case against him.
Wuterich pleaded guilty on Monday to a minor charge of negligent dereliction of duty as part of a deal that will mean little or no jail time.
He spoke out on Tuesday during his sentencing hearing.
"The truth is: I never fired any weapon at any women or children that day," Wuterich said.
Wuterich also said in his statement that his guilty plea should not suggest that he believes his men behaved badly or that they acted in any way that was dishonorable to their country.
The Haditha attack is among the war's defining moments, further tainting America's reputation following the release of photos of prisoner abuse by U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison.
Seven other Marines initially charged were exonerated or had their cases dropped.
Copyright NBC San Diego / Associated Press