[JURIST] US Marine Cpl. Trent D. Thomas pleaded not guilty Tuesday at his arraignment hearing [USMC press release] to charges of murder, kidnapping, and other offenses related to the death of an Iraqi man in Hamdania [USMC timeline; JURIST archive]. Thomas is among several servicemen accused of kidnapping Hashim Ibrahim Awad [Wikipedia profile] and leaving him by the side of the road with a shovel and AK-47 after shooting him, making Awad look like an insurgent. Thomas also pleaded not guilty to assaulting an Iraqi citizen in a separate incident on April 10 near Hamdania. A Purple Heart winner who was serving his third tour in Iraq when the incidents occurred, Thomas will go to trial in March 2007.
Lance Cpl. Tyler Jackson, Pfc. John J. Jodka, and US Navy Petty Officer Nelson Bacos [JURIST reports] have already pleaded guilty to lesser charges in the Hamdania incident. Jodka will face a sentencing hearing [USMC press release] Wednesday, where he faces up to 15 years of confinement, reduction in rank, forfeiture of all pay and a dishonorable discharge from the Marine Corps. A fourth serviceman is expected to plead guilty [JURIST report] at an arraignment hearing scheduled for Monday. Reuters has more.