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Third US serviceman pleads guilty in Iraqi civilian murder case

[JURIST] US Marine Lance Cpl. Tyler Jackson [advocacy website] on Monday pleaded guilty [press release] to aggravated assault and conspiracy to obstruct justice in connection with the April 26 death of Iraqi civilian Hashim Ibrahim Awad [Wikipedia profile] in Hamdania [USMC timeline; JURIST news archive]. In accordance with his plea agreement [JURIST report], Jackson testified Monday that Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins III [JURIST report] devised the plot to kidnap and kill Awad and ordered the seven Marines and one Navy corpsman charged [JURIST report] to "stick to the story" that the soldiers found Awad planting a roadside bomb before they killed him. Jackson will be sentenced on November 16 and is eligible to receive a 15-year prison term, which will likely be reduced due to the deal he struck with prosecutors.

Two other military personnel, US Marine Pfc. John J. Jodka and US Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Melson J. Bacos [JURIST reports], have also pleaded guilty in exchange for testimony, and both have also named Hutchins as the mastermind of the plan. Four of the eight initially charged still face courts-martial [JURIST report], and a decision as to whether Hutchins will face court-martial is still pending. AP has more.

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