CAMP PENDLETON, California (AP) – A Marine charged with kidnapping and murdering an Iraqi man last spring assaulted another man in a separate incident because he made “disparaging remarks” about Marines while in Abu Ghraib prison, a military prosecutor said.
The comment was the first public glimpse into an alleged April 10 incident uncovered during the probe into the death of 52-year-old Hashim Ibrahim Awad on April 26. Six other Marines have been charged in the murder case.
Dressed in a short-sleeved khaki service uniform, Lance Cpl. Jerry E. Shumate Jr. deferred making a plea Friday to the six charges against him, a common move at military arraignments.
While details around the alleged murder of Awad have previously been heard in court, prosecutors said the seven Marines seized Awad from his home, threw him into a hole and shot him after growing frustrated in their search for an insurgent, the earlier alleged incident of abuse has received little attention.
Marine prosecutor Maj. Donald J. Plowman said Shumate, 21, chased and tackled Khalid Hamad Daham and then, along with several other Marines, took him to his house and beat him while his family was in an adjoining room. After the arraignment, Shumate’s civilian attorney, Steve Immel, said he would contend that Daham was a known insurgent being held for questioning. Immel said Daham was trying to escape when Shumate tackled him.
Immel also said in the interview that a government ballistics report in the Awad killing could not link any of the rounds fired to Shumate or any other individual. The prosecution discussed the incident because Immel had asked for his client to be removed from pretrial confinement. The judge, after hearing details of the April incidents, denied the motion. Shumate’s trial was set for Feb. 12. Navy corpsman Melson J. Bacos pleaded guilty last week 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 saw. In return for Bacos’ testimony, other counts of murder, kidnapping and conspiracy were dropped. He was sentenced to a year in custody. Bacos testified that two Marines shot Awad at least 10 times after dragging him from his house. He said the body was dumped in a roadside hole with a rifle, to make it appear he’d been planting a bomb. Bacos was the first of the servicemen to be court-martialed. The seven others could get up to life in prison.