Marines to face charges in Iraqi's death

By SETH HETTENA, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 47 minutes ago

SAN DIEGO - Military prosecutors plan to file murder, kidnapping and conspiracy charges against seven Marines and a Navy corpsman in the shooting death of an Iraqi civilian in April, a defense lawyer said Thursday.

The eight men are being held in the brig at Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base north of San Diego, said Jeremiah Sullivan III, who represents one of the men.

The men served in Iraq with the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, and are members of the battalion's Kilo Company. The highest-ranking serviceman is a staff sergeant.

Sullivan said he learned from Marine Corps attorneys that the charges have been drafted and official charging documents could be given to the men as early as Friday.

The Iraqi man was killed west of Baghdad on April 26. His death was unrelated to the shootings of as many as two dozen civilians in the western Iraqi city of Haditha. The Pentagon is investigating troops from the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment in that case.

The Marine Corps and Pentagon spokesmen have refused to comment on any aspect of the Iraqi man's death since an investigation was announced May 24.

However, a Pentagon official said Thursday that charges are expected to be brought "very soon." The official, who spoke only on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to discuss charges before they are filed, could not confirm the specific counts.

Sullivan said the eight men are being held in solitary confinement.

"There's concern about the publicity of Haditha having a detrimental impact on the case," he said. "My concern is that the whole politics of this. There's an assumption that these guys are guilty before there's been an opportunity for a thorough, impartial investigation."

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