A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Navy petty officer pleads guilty to role in Hamdania death

[JURIST] US Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Melson J. Bacos, a hospital corpsman, pleaded guilty Friday to kidnapping and conspiracy charges [UCMJ text] in connection to the April 26 death of Iraqi civilian Hashim Ibrahim Awad [Wikipedia profile] in Hamdania. A total of eight US military personnel were initially charged [JURIST report] in the incident, in which they are said to have shot Awad and then made it seem that he was an insurgent planting a roadside bomb by placing a shovel and rifle next to his dead body. In exchange for the dismissal of more severe charges, including murder, Bacos will testify against the others - all US Marines - still under indictment. Bacos has been moved from Camp Pendleton to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar [official website] Friday out of concerns for his safety.

Bacos is the first serviceman to admit wrongdoing in the Hamdania incident [JURIST news archive]. Two of the Marines have already pleaded not guilty [JURIST report], and there is no word yet as to whether any others are negotiating a plea agreement. AP has more.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.