Marine Pleads Guilty to Assault in Death of Iraqi Civilian

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A Marine pleaded guilty Tuesday to aggravated assault and conspiracy to obstruct justice in the death of Iraqi civilian who was shot and killed by his military unit.

Lance Cpl. Jerry E. Shumate Jr. entered his pleas through his civilian attorney Steve Immel during court-martial proceedings and was expected to testify about the April incident in the town of Hamdania.

Shumate was part of a squad of seven Marines and a sailor initially charged with kidnapping 52-year-old Hashim Ibrahim Awad, dragging him to a roadside hole, shooting him and then trying to cover up the incident.

After the testimony, the deal also called for dismissal of the original charges of murder, kidnapping, conspiracy, larceny, assault and housebreaking, Immel said.

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Shumate, 21, of Matlock, Washington, was the third Marine to make a deal in the case. A Navy corpsman on patrol with the squad has also pleaded guilty to lesser charges. Their sentences ranged from one year to 21 months in prison.

Previous testimony indicated members of the squad planned to kidnap and kill a known insurgent but abducted Awad instead after they could not find the insurgent.

Four senior squad members have not made deals in the case and still face kidnapping and murder charges.