Joshua Cash Karlen, 23, from Westminster, Colorado, said Monday that he is positive he saw the weapons while he was being evacuated from the battlefield. The following spring Karlen says he reported his observations to NCIS investigators while being interrogated by two special agents.
"They grilled me over why I was there, why I was driving through the cordon and what I saw," Karlen said. "I was in there for about four hours."
Karlen says he repeatedly told the two agents what he witnessed at the ambush site.
"The area was cordoned off when we drove by," Karlen said in a telephone interview from his home. "I was hit by a grenade and had a severe concussion so I had to be evacuated out. I was on the south side of Chestnut (code name for the road running on the south side of the ambush site) being driven through the cordon. We were going real slow so I could see a white car, a pile of bodies, and weapons piled against the car. There were three or four AKs stacked leaning against a white car and some Marines were standing around."
Despite a lengthy interview Karlen's statement was never included in the evidence obtained by the defense, according to defense attorney Brian Rooney. The former Marine Corps Staff Judge Advocate represents Lt. Col Jeffrey Chessani. Chessani is the former commander of 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines. Chessani is currently waiting to discover if he will stand general courts-martial over his role in Kilo's alleged murder rampage.
"This is the first I have ever heard of this!"Rooney exclaimed.
Rooney said the NCIS failure to provide Karlen's eyewitness account to Marine Corps prosecutors was a "very serious omission" that undoubtedly harmed his client's case.
Karlen's testimony is absolutely essential to the defense, Rooney added. The outspoken defense attorney is at a loss to understand why Karlen's statement was never introduced into evidence, he said.
"We could never put any weapons with the Iraqis who were killed by the cab," Rooney explained Monday night. "This evidence is crucial to prove the men in the cab were armed insurgents. Early on there were reports they had weapons, but the weapons were never found."
Hat Tip: Conservative Thoughts
Talk Show America 7/20/2007