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Third US Marine sentenced to 21 months in Hamdania Iraqi civilian murder case

[JURIST] US Marine Lance Cpl. Jerry E. Shumate Jr. was sentenced to a maximum 21-month confinement Tuesday after pleading guilty [press release] at court-martial to aggravated assault and conspiracy to obstruct justice in connection with the alleged murder and kidnapping of an unarmed Iraqi civilian in Hamdania [USMC timeline; JURIST news archive] on April 26. More serious murder and kidnapping charges [DOC text] were dropped in exchange for the plea, avoiding a potential eight-year sentence. Shumate may also face a reduction in rank and forfeiture of pay, but will not be dishonorably discharged. AP has more.

Shumate is the third Marine and fourth serviceman to plead guilty in the case, in which seven Marines and one Navy corpsman were originally charged [JURIST report]. The military personnel allegedly shot and killed Hashim Ibrahim Awad [Wikipedia profile] and left his body by the side of the road with a shovel and AK-47, making him 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. Last week Jodka was sentenced to 18 months and Jackson to 21 months [JURIST reports] in military custody. Hutchins faces court-martial [JURIST report] for murder, kidnapping and other charges.

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