By ANATH HARTMANN
WASHINGTON (Oct. 8, 2008)—The investigating officer in the 2007 trial of a Marine charged with killing several dozen Iraqi civilians died Sunday, less than three months after he sustained head injuries in a non-hostile incident in Iraq's Anbar province.
Marine Col. Michael R. Stahlman, 45 and a Chevy Chase native, died at approximately 11:24 a.m. near his home in Yucca Valley, Calif.
Stahlman, a judge advocate and a 1985 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, had returned to the United States for treatment following his injury. He was assigned to Headquarters Battalion, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif.
"He was a great gentleman, truly," said Dale Saran, a Rhode Island reservist and attorney who met Stahlman in 1997 while interning at Camp Lejeune, N.C. "He was my review officer at Camp Lejeune. He was a real mentor to me the summer I worked for him, just a class act (and) a very good athlete."
Last month, Stahlman developed sepsis, a blood-stream infection, as a result of his head injuries.
His death prompted an outpouring of condolences from friends and acquaintances on a blog dedicated to Stahlman's healing.
"Mike was a truly a stand-out among Marines I have worked with during my career," wrote one visitor to
mikeonthemend.blogspot.com. "Whenever I asked him for help or advice, he would immediately respond. It always felt as if he dropped everything else to help me. Somehow, I feel that is the case with everyone Mike met."
Another writer said Stahlman "was the Marine that I should have been."
Last month, friends created the Stahlman Family Fund for Stahlman's wife, Kimberly Stahlman, and daughters McKenna and Piper.
Kimberly Stahlman could not be reached for comment.
Capital News Service contributed to this report.