Marine in Iraqi civilian murder probe held

The navy medic told the court how the gang of Marines dragged Awad from his house and murdered him in cold blood.

india Updated: Oct 14, 2006 08:51 IST

A US Marine accused of involvement in the alleged murder of an Iraqi civilian was denied bail on Friday pending a court martial early next year.

A military hearing at the Marines Camp Pendleton Base in Southern California ruled there was a risk Jerry Shumate may abscond if he was released from custody prior to the Feburary hearing.

Shumate, 21, stands accused with six other Marines of murdering Hashim Ibrahim Awad in Hamdania, outside Baghdad, on April 26 this year.

Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Meeks, presiding, said he agreed with an initial review which found Shumate was a flight risk. "I find that the danger of conviction is a strong motivating factor," Meeks said.

Defence attorney Steven Immel argued unsuccessfully that it was an abuse of discretion to continue to keep Shumate in custody.

But Meeks ruled Shumate was a "young impressionable Marine" with a "desire to please" and a "troubling tendency to follow others."

Shumate deferred entering a plea to charges of conspiracy, premeditated murder, kidnapping, housebreaking and larceny stemming from Awad's death.

Last week, Navy medic Melson Bacos told the court how the gang of Marines had dragged Awad from his house and murdered him in cold blood before staging a cover-up. Bacos was jailed for a year after a plea deal which saw him testify against his fellow soldiers.

First Published: Oct 14, 2006 08:51 IST