Marine Pfc. John J. Jodka pleads guilty to charges of assault and conspiracy to obstruct justice in the death of a 52-year-old Iraqi civilian last April near the village of Hamdania. The admission means that Jodka won't face the more serious charges of kidnapping and murder.
Jodka, whose court martial is taking place at Camp Pendleton in California, is one of seven Marines held in the death of Hashim Ibrahim Awad. Jodka is the second person accused in the case to reach a pretrial agreement.
A Navy corpsman who was part of the same patrol unit has already pleaded guilty to lesser charges and agreed to testify against the Marines. He described to prosecutors how he and the others shot Awad after they failed to find a man they suspected to be an insurgent.
In addition to the murder, the group is accused of staging Awad's body to make it look as if he had been planting a roadside explosive. Jodka said in court that the group agreed to lie about the killing. Much of what Jodka said corroborated with what Navy Petty Officer Melson Bacos had told prosecutors.
Melissa Block talks with NPR's John McChesney.