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Marine pleads guilty to assault, conspiracy in Hamdania Iraqi civilian death

[JURIST] US Marine Corps Pfc. John J. Jodka pleaded guilty Thursday to assault and obstruction of justice charges [JURIST report] in relation to the April 26 death of an Iraqi civilian in Hamdania [USMC timeline; JURIST news archive]. Jodka was one of eight military personnel originally charged [JURIST report] with murder, kidnapping, conspiracy, assault and housebreaking for his role in the death of Hashim Ibrahim Awad [Wikipedia profile], where seven Marines and a Navy Corpsman allegedly left Awad by the side of the road with a shovel and AK-47 after they shot him, making Awad look like an insurgent. Jodka's deal follows the October 6 guilty plea [JURIST report] of US Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Melson J. Bacos to kidnapping and conspiracy in the same incident; Bacos was sentenced to a one-year imprisonment.

Jodka is the lowest-ranking serviceman to be charged in connection to the Hamdania death, and military prosecutors said they would not seek the death penalty [JURIST report] against Jodka in August. Five of the eight initially charged still face courts-martial [JURIST report], and a decision as to whether the final Marine charged, Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins III [JURIST report], will face court-martial is still pending. AP has more.

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