RALEIGH, WAKE COUNTY - A former U.S. Marine lieutenant who twice ran as a Republican for Congress will serve as the new director of the N.C. Division of Veterans Affairs.
Ilario Pantano, of Wilmington, will start his new job Sept. 5. He will be paid an annual state salary of $90,000.
Pantano was charged with two counts of premeditated murder in 2004 after he shot two unarmed Iraqis and then hung a taunting sign near their bullet-riddled bodies. A Marine general later dropped the charges, ruling there was insufficient evidence to proceed to court martial. Pantano resigned in 2005.
Pantano campaigned unsuccessfully for North Carolina's 7th Congressional District seat in 2010 and 2012. He was also vice chairman of Veterans for McCrory, a group affiliated with the campaign of now Gov. Pat McCrory.