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Third Marine to plead guilty in Hamdania Iraqi civilian murder case

[JURIST] US Marine Lance Cpl. Jerry E. Shumate Jr. will plead guilty to aggravated assault and conspiracy to obstruct justice in connection to the alleged murder and kidnapping of an unarmed Iraqi civilian in Hamdania [USMC timeline; JURIST news archive], Shumate's lawyer said Monday. In exchange for the guilty plea, expected to be entered next Monday, more serious murder and kidnapping charges [DOC text] will be dropped. Shumate is the third Marine and fourth serviceman to plead guilty in the case, where seven Marines and one Navy corpsman were originally charged [JURIST report] 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.

US Marine Pfc. John J. Jodka, US Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Melson J. Bacos [JURIST reports] and US Marine Lance Cpl. Tyler Jackson [advocacy website; JURIST report] have also pleaded guilty in exchange for their testimony in the case. All have named US Marine Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins III [JURIST report] as the mastermind of the plan. A decision as to whether Hutchins will face court-martial is still pending. AP has more.

9:26 PM ET - The US Marine Corps announced Tuesday that Hutchins will face court-martial [JURIST report] for murder, kidnapping and other charges.

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