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US will not seek death penalty against second Marine in Hamdania killing

[JURIST] The US military will not pursue the death penalty against US Marine Corps [official website] Lance Cpl. Jerry E. Shumate Jr. [legal defense fund blog] in the fatal shooting of an Iraqi civilian in Hamdania [JURIST news archive], a military prosecutor said Tuesday during an Article 32 [JAG backgrounder; UCMJ text] hearing. Shumate, 21, is accused of firing at Hashim Ibrahim Awad [Wikipedia profile] and then providing false official statements to investigators. Eight US service members allegedly dragged Awad out of his home, shot him and placed an AK-47 rifle and a shovel near his body to make him look as if he had been burying a roadside bomb.

The seven Marines and one Navy corpsman were charged [JURIST report] in June, and in late August, prosecutors announced they would not seek the death penalty [JURIST report] for co-defendant Pfc. John Jodka III, who is accused of firing the deadly shots at Awad. Another co-defendant who was involved in the Article 32 hearing with Jodka, Cpl. Marshall Magincalda, is charged with kidnapping Awad and binding his feet. The other members of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, [official website] based in Camp Pendleton, CA, are expected to face preliminary court-martial hearings in the coming weeks. AP has more. The Los Angeles Times has local coverage.

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