SAN DIEGO — Three more Camp Pendleton Marines, including a Tracy native, will face courts-martial on murder and kidnapping charges in the death of an Iraqi man in the town of Hamdania, Iraq, the U.S. Marine Corps said Wednesday.
Gen. James Mattis, the commanding general in the case, said he would not seek the death penalty.
The three were among seven Pendleton Marines and one Navy corpsman charged with kidnapping and murdering 52-year-old Hashim Ibrahim Awad last April.
Lance Cpl. Tyler Jackson of Tracy, Lance Cpl. Robert B. Pennington and Cpl. Trent D. Thomas will also face charges including conspiracy, housebreaking and larceny.
Three other Marines, including Manteca native Cpl. Marshall Magincalda, will also face courts-martial. Gen. Mattis has not announced a decision over whether the squad leader, Sgt. Lawrence G. Hutchins III, will go to trial and what charges he will face.
The Marines Corps dropped some charges against Jackson, Pennington and Thomas, including an assault charge and a charge of wrongfully endeavoring to impede an investigation. Thomas will face an additional assault charge related to a separate incident uncovered during the probe into Awad’s death.
The courts-martials were ordered after the three Marines waived their right to preliminary hearings. The Marine Corps did not announce dates for court appearances.
On Oct. 6, Petty Officer 3rd Class Melson J. Bacos, a Navy corpsman on patrol with the Marines, pleaded guilty to kidnapping and conspiracy under a deal with prosecutors in which he agreed to testify at his court-martial and during upcoming proceedings about what he witnessed.
Bacos said the squad pulled Awad from his home, took him to a roadside hole and shot him before planting a shovel and AK-47 to make it appear he was an insurgent planting a bomb. Bacos was sentenced to 12 months confinement; murder and other charges against him were dropped.
Since the start of the Iraq war in 2003, at least 14 members of the U.S. military have been convicted in connection with the deaths of Iraqis. Two received sentences of up to life in prison, while most others were given little or no jail time.