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US Marine to face court martial for 2004 Fallujah death

[JURIST] US Marine Sgt. Jermaine Nelson will face a court martial later this year for murder, according to an order given by Marine Lt. Gen. Samuel T. Hellman [official profile]. The murder charge, announced Wednesday, stems from an incident during the Multinational National Force-Iraq's November 2004 offensive in Fallujah [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] in which unarmed Iraqi prisoners were allegedly killed. Following the order, Nelson was given limited immunity [Newsmax report] in return for testifying against his squad leader, former Marine Sgt. Jose Nazario. In April, a federal court ruled that Nazario could stand trial [JURIST report] in a California federal court on two counts of involuntary manslaughter. AP has more.

In July 2007, the Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS) [official website] announced investigations of at least 10 Marines [JURIST report] in connection with the Fallujah offensive [JURIST news archive] after former Marine Corporal Ryan Weemer admitted during a polygraphed job interview with the US Secret Service that he had witnessed indiscriminate killings in Fallujah. Military journalist Nathaniel Helms later corroborated that account, reporting that he witnessed Marines execute subdued Iraqi prisoners, whose bodies were later buried under rubble from an air strike. Weemer was charged last month with murder and dereliction of duty in March, while Nazario was charged last year with voluntary manslaughter [JURIST reports].

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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.

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