Marines, Medic Charged with Murder in Iraq Case

Seven Marines and one sailor have been charged with murder in connection to the April death of an Iraqi civilian in Hamdania, a Marine spokesman said. The case revolves around the behavior of Marines and a Navy medic who sought a suspected insurgent on April 26.

Finding their target house empty, the U.S. force is said to have entered a house at random and left with Hashim Ibrahim Awad, a 52-year-old disabled man. He was reportedly questioned before being shot several times.

Investigators believe the Marines then placed an AK-47 next to the Iraqi, along with a shovel, to portray him as an insurgent who planted roadside bombs.

Marine Col. Stuart Navarre announced the charges from Camp Pendleton in California, where the accused have been held in a military brig since late May. The charges include kidnapping, murder and conspiracy.

The Marines accused are Sgt. Lawrence G. Hutchins III, Marine Cpl. Trent D. Thomas, Lance Cpl. Tyler A. Jackson, Pfc. John J. Jodka, Lance Cpl. Jerry E. Shumate Jr., Lance Cpl. Robert B. Pennington, and Cpl. Marshall L. Magincalda. Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Melson J. Bacos is also charged.

Timeline: Investigating Hamdania

Cpl. Marshall Magincalda, Jr.

hide captionCpl. Marshall Magincalda, Jr., walks into the courtroom at the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base in California on Aug. 30, 2006. He is one of seven Marines and one Navy medic who are charged in the death of Hashim Ibrahim Awad in Hamdania.

Hector Mata/AFP/Getty Images

U.S. forces are accused of killing an Iraqi civilian in Hamdania, a city west of Bahgdad. Criminal charges have been filed in the case.

April 26, 2006: Seven Marines and a Navy medic patrol Hamdania, a city west of Baghdad, for a suspected insurgent. They do not find him and instead, allegedly enter a nearby house, remove an Iraqi man, take him away and shoot him. They allegedly leave a shovel and an AK-47 assault rifle to make it look like the man was an insurgent.

May 1, 2006: Local Iraqis bring the April 26 incident in Hamdania to the attention of Marine leadership at a regularly scheduled meeting. A preliminary investigation finds that sufficient information exists to recommend a criminal investigation.

May 24, 2006: The commanding general of the Marines in Western Iraq, Richard Zilmer, requests the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) proceeds with a criminal investigation into Hamdania.

June 21, 2006: Seven Marines and a Navy medic are charged with murder in the April 26 incident in Hamdania. All eight also are charged with kidnapping, conspiracy, larceny and providing false official statements. The eight men are attached to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment based at Camp Pendleton in California.

Aug. 30, 2006: Article 32 hearings at Camp Pendleton, Calif., begin for two Marines, Cpl. Marshall Magincalda, Jr., and Pfc. John Jodka III. They are among seven Marines and a Navy medical corpsman who are charged with murder and kidnapping in the death of Hashim Ibrahim Awad in Hamdania. The hearings are the military equivalent of a grand jury, in which charges are considered and evidence and witnesses reviewed. At the conclusion, a hearing officer begins to draft a report on whether the soldiers should face courts martial. Other hearings are scheduled through October.

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