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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 February 2007, 05:48 GMT
Marine jailed over Iraqi murder
US Marine Lance Cpl Robert Pennington
Cpl Pennington expressed remorse for Mr Awad's death
A US marine has been sentenced to eight years in military prison for his role in the killing of an Iraqi civilian.

Lance Cpl Robert Pennington, 22, is the fifth of eight US soldiers to plead guilty and be sentenced over the murder of Hashim Ibrahim Awad, 52.

Investigators said the soldiers dragged disabled Mr Awad from his home and killed him in Hamdaniya in April 2006.

It is one in a series of inquiries into the alleged abuse or killing of Iraqis by coalition forces.

Murder and other charges were dropped in return for Cpl Pennington testifying against three other marines in the case.

Cpl Pennington pleaded guilty to kidnapping and conspiracy. His rank was also reduced and he has been dishonourably discharged.

'Truly sorry'

Mr Awad, a police officer, was taken from his home, put in a hole and shot in the head 10 times.

A gun and a shovel were then placed by his body to make it look as if he were an insurgent planting a roadside bomb.

The unit was reportedly searching for an insurgent and took Mr Awad when they failed to find their target.

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Cpl Pennington, the squad's radio operator, told the court martial that he did not shoot Mr Awad but that he helped to force him into the hole and held his hand over his mouth.

At his sentencing hearing on Friday, Cpl Pennington expressed remorse for his actions.

"I can honestly and truly say that I am sorry that I did what I did. Saying I feel bad just does not begin to describe it," he said.

He was sentenced to 14 years but the military judge dropped six years in return for the plea bargain.

After the sentencing, Cpl Pennington's mother, Deanna, said: "I've come to understand that Bobby died in [the battle for] Falluja and I want to help him come back to life and be the good person I know he is".

Another marine, Cpl Trent Thomas - the only one in the group to plead guilty to murder - withdrew his guilty plea at the last minute as the court prepared to sentence him on 8 February.

Three other marines and the navy medic have pleaded guilty to various lesser charges related to the incident.


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