Murder charges dropped against US officer

Murder charges were dropped Monday against a US Army officer accused of giving two soldiers in his command permission to kill Iraqi civilians. Second Lt. Erick J. Anderson, of Twinsburg, Ohio, had been charged with two counts of murder, two counts of conspiracy, making a false statement, dereliction of duty and conduct unbecoming an officer for allegedly authorizing the shooting deaths of Iraqi civilians by soldiers under his command. In later statements made to Army investigators, three of the soldiers said Anderson gave them the go-ahead to kill the civilians, including one incident that was described as a "mercy killing." Prosecutors had dropped charges against Anderson in January, saying there wasn't enough evidence to prosecute him. But they left the investigation open for further review. New charges were filed in October. If convicted, Anderson could have faced life in prison.