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Attorney: Marine's trial in Iraq deaths to proceed

Attorney: Marine squad leader's court-martial in Iraq killings case to reconvene Friday By The Associated Press

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (AP) ' Proceedings stalled for a second day Thursday in the military trial of a major Iraq war crimes case, but court is expected to reconvene Friday.

A military judge excused the all-Marine jury early Wednesday afternoon and lawyers were asked to explore their options, fueling speculation that a plea deal was in the works that could end Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich's (WOO'-tur-ich) trial.

Wuterich led a squad that killed 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians during raids on homes in the town of Haditha in 2005 after a roadside bomb killed one Marine.

But Defense attorney Neal Puckett tells The Associated Press late Thursday that he expects a full day of testimony Friday. He says a squad mate and a forensic scientist with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service are expected to take the stand.

Wuterich was one of eight Marines initially charged. None has been convicted.

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