Sixth US serviceman enters guilty plea in Hamdania murder case

[JURIST] US Marine Lance Cpl. Robert B. Pennington [advocacy website] pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges [DOC text] of murder, kidnapping, housebreaking, larceny and conspiracy for his role in the death of Iraqi civilian Hashim Ibrahim Awad [Wikipedia profile] in Hamdania [USMC timeline; JURIST news archive] in April 2006. A military judge at Camp Pendleton [official website] will sentence Pennington during a two-day hearing if his guilty plea is accepted. In November, Pennington claimed [JURIST report] that agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service [official website] blocked his access to a defense lawyer and threatened him with the death penalty during interviews after the April incident, in an effort to prevent the prosecution from using statements he made during his court-martial. NCIS agents have denied Pennington's allegations.

Charges were also re-issued Tuesday against US Marine Cpl. Trent Thomas, who was the fifth serviceman to plead guilty [JURIST report] in the Hamdania case during a court hearing in January. Thomas later withdrew his guilty plea [JURIST report] on the second day of his sentencing hearing in February after saying he no longer believed he was guilty, but rather that he was following a lawful order from superiors. US Marine Lance Cpl. Jerry E. Shumate Jr., Marine Pfc. John J. Jodka, Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Melson J. Bacos, [JURIST reports] and Marine Lance Cpl. Tyler Jackson [advocacy website; JURIST report] have also pleaded guilty in exchange for their testimony in the case, in which seven Marines and one Navy corpsman were originally charged [JURIST report]. Reuters 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.