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local boy gone bad

Marine: Beating of Iraqis became routine
news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070715/ap_on_re_us/marines_iraq_shooting
CAMP([search]) PENDLETON, Calif. - A Marine corporal testifying in a court-martial said Marines in his unit began routinely beating Iraqis after officers ordered them to "crank up the violence level."

Cpl. Saul H. Lopezromo testified Saturday at the murder trial of Cpl. Trent D. Thomas.

"We were told to crank up the violence level," said Lopezromo, testifying for the defense.

When a juror asked for further explanation, Lopezromo said: "We beat people, sir."

Within weeks of allegedly being scolded, seven Marines and a Navy corpsman went out late one night to find and kill a suspected insurgent in the village of Hamandiya near the Abu Ghraib prison. The Marines and corpsman were from 2nd Platoon, Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment.

Lopezromo said the suspected insurgent was known to his neighbors as the "prince of jihad," and had been arrested several times and later released by the Iraqi legal system.

Unable to find him, the Marines and corpsman dragged another man from his house, fatally shot him, and then planted an AK-47 assault rifle near the body to make it appear he had been killed in a shootout, according to court testimony.

Four Marines and the corpsman, initially charged with murder in the April 2006 killing, have pleaded guilty to reduced charges and been given jail sentences ranging from 10 months to eight years. Thomas, 25, from St. Louis, pleaded guilty but withdrew his plea and is the first defendant to go to court-martial.

Prosecution witnesses testified that Thomas shot the 52-year-old man at point-blank range after he had already been shot by other Marines and was lying on the ground.

Lopezromo said a procedure called "dead-checking" was routine. If Marines entered a house where a man was wounded, instead of checking to see whether he needed medical aid, they shot him to make sure he was dead, he testified.

"If somebody is worth shooting once, they're worth shooting twice," he said.
 

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Re: local boy gone bad

Marine Spared Prison Time in Iraqi Death
www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2007/07/20/ap3936418.html
CAMP([search]) PENDLETON, Calif. -

A Marine convicted of kidnapping and conspiring to murder an Iraq man who was killed by troops looking for an insurgent will not serve time in prison, a military jury decided Friday.

Cpl. Trent Thomas was sentenced to a bad-conduct discharge and reduced pay. He could have received life in prison for his role in the April 2006 killing of the retired Iraqi policeman in the village of Hamdania.

Thomas, of Madison, Ill., was among seven Marines and a Navy corpsman accused of snatching 52-year-old Hashim Ibrahim Awad from his house, marching him to a nearby ditch and shooting him after they botched an attempt to capture a suspected insurgent.

Prosecutors said squad members tried to cover up the killing by planting a shovel and AK-47 by Awad's body to make it look like he was an insurgent planting a bomb.

A military jury of three officers and six enlisted Marines deliberated Thomas' sentence for less than an hour before returning their decision.

On Wednesday the jury convicted Thomas, 25, of kidnapping and conspiracy and acquitted him of other charges, including the most serious, premeditated murder.

Prosecutors had recommended Thomas be sentenced to 15 years in prison with a dishonorable discharge, reduction in pay and forfeiture.
 

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An inglorious peace is better than a dishonorable war.
-- Mark Twain
Source: "Glances at History" (suppressed)
 

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