MERIDEN, Conn. -- A Marine convicted in the 2005 killings of unarmed Iraqis has returned home to Connecticut for a golf tournament organized by veterans for his benefit.

Former Marine Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich tells the Record-Journal of Meriden that some people think prosecutors let a child-killer go free. He says that's absolutely not the case.

In February, he received a general discharge under honourable conditions -- one step below an honourable discharge. Wuterich was the only Marine convicted in the killings in Haditha.

Wuterich, who lives in California, pleaded guilty to negligent dereliction of duty as the leader of the squad that killed 24 Iraqis. He apologized for the loss of life but said his squad did not behave dishonourably.

Some local veterans say the military gave Wuterich a bad deal.