[JURIST] Lance Cpl. Robert B. Pennington, one of several US Marines facing court-martial in connection with the kidnapping and murder of an Iraqi civilian in Hamdania [USMC timeline; JURIST news archive], told a military court Monday that agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service [official website] told him not to ask for a defense lawyer and threatened him with the death penalty during interviews after the April incident. During a motion hearing, Pennington testified that NCIS agents told him that asking for a lawyer would be "the worst mistake" he could make, but two NCIS agents took the stand and denied the allegations. Pennington is seeking to prevent the prosecution from using his statements during his court-martial and a ruling on his motion is expected Tuesday.
Pennington is charged [DOC text] with murder, kidnapping, housebreaking, larceny and conspiracy for his role in the Hamdania incident, where military personnel allegedly left Hashim Ibrahim Awad [Wikipedia profile] by the side of the road with a shovel and AK-47 after they shot him, making Awad look like an insurgent. Of the eight serviceman originally charged [JURIST report] in the case, three additional Marines still face courts-martial [JURIST report], including squad leader Sgt. Lawrence G. Hutchins III [JURIST report], Cpl. Trent D. Thomas and Cpl. Marshall L. Magincalda. Two Marines and a Navy corpsman have pleaded guilty, and a fourth guilty plea is expected from Lance Cpl. Jerry E. Shumate Jr. later Tuesday. AP has more.