Officer Recommends Court-Martial For Marine Accused of Killing Iraqi Civilian

An investigating officer recommended a court martial for a Marine accused of participating in the kidnapping and murdering of an Iraqi civilian, an attorney said Wednesday.

The officer reviewed evidence from a preliminary hearing last month and said there was probable cause for Pfc. John J. Jodka III to stand trial, according to one of Jodka's attorneys, Joseph Casas.

Seven Marines and one Navy corpsman are accused of kidnapping 52-year-old Hashim Ibrahim Awad, taking him to a roadside hole and shooting him to death April 26 in Hamdania, west of Baghdad.

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A commanding general will make the final decision about a court martial.

On Tuesday, a military prosecutor said the government will not seek the death penalty against another Marine charged in the case, Lance Cpl. Jerry E. Shumate Jr. Shumate is suspected of firing his M-16 at Awad, then lying to investigators about what had happened, according to charging documents.

A commanding general also will make a decision about whether Shumate will face a court-martial.

Defense attorneys have questioned the credibility of the Iraqis who reported the killing to U.S. authorities. So far, three Marines have faced preliminary hearings in the case, and other hearings are scheduled in the coming weeks.