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US will not seek death penalty against Marine in Hamdania killing

[JURIST] The US government will not pursue the death penalty against US Marine Corps [official website] Pfc. John Jodka III in the death of an Iraqi civilian in Hamdania, according to a military prosecutor during Article 32 [JAG backgrounder; UCMJ text] hearings [JURIST report] Wednesday to determine if Jodka and another soldier should face courts-martial for the killing. Jodka is accused of firing deadly shots at Hashim Ibrahim Awad [Wikipedia profile], while Cpl. Marshall Magincalda is charged with kidnapping and binding the man's feet. Jodka and Magincalda are among seven Marines and a Navy corpsman who have been charged [JURIST report] with murder and other crimes related to Awad's death. AP has more.

The prosecution is relying on alleged confessions to the murder by involved soldiers, but defense attorneys said they will fight to have the statements suppressed, accusing military investigators of obtaining them via coercive techniques. The other members of the Camp Pendleton-based 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment [official website] are expected to face preliminary court-martial hearings in the coming weeks. AP has more.

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