From the testimony of Marine Sgt. Jermaine Nelson, charged with murder in connection to the 2004 attack on Fallujah:

In one interview played at the hearing for Sgt. Ryan Weemer, Sgt. Jermaine Nelson told an agent from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service that he and Weemer were ordered by their sergeant to kill the prisoners as the Marines swept through a Fallouja neighborhood on Nov. 9, 2004. …

In the interview, Nelson told the investigator that [Sgt. Jose] Nazario said, "I’m not doing all this . . . by myself. You’re doing one and Weemer is doing one."

Nelson said that he watched in shock as Nazario shot a kneeling prisoner at point-blank range: "He hit the dude in the forehead, the dude went down and there was blood . . . all over [Nazario’s] boots."

Weemer then used his service pistol to shoot one of the prisoners, Nelson said. "He shot him and the dude was on the ground and rolling, and [Weemer] was shooting, shooting, shooting, shooting, shooting.

Nazario, in turn, was apparently asked by his lieutenant via the radio about the prisoners: "Are they dead yet?"

Nelson has an obvious incentive to lie. But his testimony, according to the Los Angeles Times, is corroborated by Weemer. And Weemer apparently confessed to the killings of Iraqi prisoners when he was asked by the Secret Service for a job interview about the most serious crime that he’d ever committed. From the piece, they sound more like two men with very troubled consciences — and rightly so — than conspirators trying to ambush Sgt. Nazario. But I don’t know anything about this case other than what I just saw in the Los Angeles Times.

Spencer Ackerman

Spencer Ackerman