Attorney: Third Marine to Plead Guilty in Death of Iraqi Civilian in Hamdania

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Another Marine charged with kidnapping and murdering an unarmed Iraqi civilian in the town of Hamdania has agreed to plead guilty to lesser charges, his attorney said Monday. That means four of the eight U.S. troops charged have now struck plea bargains.

Steve Immel, attorney for Lance Cpl. Jerry E. Shumate Jr., said his client would plead guilty to charges of aggravated assault and conspiracy to obstruct justice. He said the original charges, including murder and kidnapping, would be dismissed.

Shumate, 21, of Matlock, Wash., is the third Marine to make a deal in the case. A Navy medic on patrol with the squad has also pleaded guilty to lesser charges.

The case involves the slaying last April of 52-year-old Hashim Ibrahim Awad.

Prosecutors said that U.S. troops frustrated in the search for insurgents dragged the unarmed civilian from his home, put him in a hole and shot him, leaving a shovel and an AK-47 to make it look as if he was an insurgent caught planting explosives.

Immel said his client would probably be in court next Monday to plead guilty.

"He's relieved to be putting this behind him," Immel said. "He is a young man who is a danger to no one."

Marine spokesman Maj. Jeff Nyhart declined to comment.