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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 August 2006, 07:05 GMT 08:05 UK
No death penalty for Iraq marine
Pte John Jodka
Pte John Jodka's lawyers say he may not get a fair trial
US military prosecutors will not seek the death penalty for a US marine charged with killing an Iraqi civilian.

Pte John Jodka, 20, is one of eight US soldiers accused of taking Hashim Ibrahim Awad from his home in Hamdaniya, near Baghdad, and shooting him dead.

Prosecutors say the troops also placed a rifle by the man's body to make it appear he was an insurgent.

The hearing was part of a procedure aimed at establishing whether there is enough proof to court martial the men.

Another soldier accused in the Hamdania murder, Cpl Marshall Magincalda, 23, also appeared at the hearing at Camp Pendleton base, California.

Lawyers for both the men said they were concerned their clients may not receive a fair trial.

A request by one of Pte Jodka's lawyers for prosecution evidence to be kept confidential was granted.

The lawyer, Retired Col Jane Siegel, said openly discussing evidence would "completely pollute the local and national jury pool" for any eventual court martial of Pte Jodka.

A prosecutor said seeking the death penalty in his case would be "inappropriate".

Iraqi witnesses have said five US soldiers took Awad from his home on 26 April this year, tied him up and shot him dead by the road.

Dozens of US soldiers have been investigated over the unlawful killing of Iraqi civilians.




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