Corporal Is Called A Key Player In Slaying

November 8th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Corporal Is Called A Key Player In Slaying

San Diego Union-Tribune
November 8, 2006
Marine seeks release from brig
By David Hasemyer, Staff Writer
A Camp Pendleton unit was “out of control” on the night it abducted and fatally shot an Iraqi civilian, prosecutors said, and Cpl. Marshall L. Magincalda was a key player in the murder plot.
The prosecution made those assertions yesterday during the first day of a court hearing for Magincalda, who has been charged in the April 26 death of Hashim Ibrahim Awad in Hamdaniya, Iraq.
Magincalda and seven other defendants have been jailed since May. Magincalda's attorneys yesterday asked that he be released from the base brig until his trial begins in February. Joseph Low, the civilian lawyer for Magincalda, said his client is not a flight risk.
“He's got to be in good shape, mentally and physically, for his court-martial. He is committed to honor and integrity,” said Low, adding that Magincalda is a combat veteran who was awarded the Purple Heart.
But Capt. Nicholas Gannon, the lead prosecutor, said Magincalda figured prominently in the plan that resulted in Awad's death. Gannon's contention was backed by Col. Robert Hanson, who decided in late May to confine all the Hamdaniya suspects so they wouldn't try to flee or manipulate evidence.
Magincalda was a senior member of the squad who held sway over the younger and less-experienced servicemen, Hanson testified yesterday. He said Magincalda may have intimidated some of them into sticking to the group's story that Awad was killed after he started a firefight while trying to plant a roadside bomb.
To further the conspiracy, Hanson said, Magincalda helped steal an assault rifle and a shovel, then placed those items next to Awad's body.
The hearing officer, Col. Steven Folsom, said he would announce his decision today on whether Magincalda should remain in jail until his court-martial next year. The hearing is scheduled to resume this afternoon.
Folsom also is expected to hear about a dozen other motions from Magincalda's defense team, including a request to dismiss the case and one to gather some DNA evidence.
Court documents, legal analysts and several Hamdaniya defendants have identified Magincalda as one of three senior-ranking members of the Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment.
During his court-martial Oct. 6, Petty Officer 3rd Class Melson J. Bacos became the first Hamdaniya suspect to recount what happened on April 26. Bacos, a Navy corpsman serving as the medic for his unit, and two Marines have entered into plea bargains that require them to testify against their co-defendants in exchange for more-lenient sentences.
Bacos said the unit's leader, Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins III, conceived the plot to kill a suspected insurgent and discussed it with several members of the squad. Those Marines allegedly snatched Awad after failing to find their targeted man.
Bacos testified that he asked his squad mates to release Awad, but that Magincalda called him weak and told him to shut up.
The servicemen allegedly took Awad to a shallow hole on the side of a road about 1:30 a.m. Then they either took turns shooting at his head and chest from close range or fired at him from across the street as he tried to run away, depending on the differing testimony given by Bacos and the other plea-deal defendants.
Hutchins and Magincalda face charges including murder, kidnapping, conspiracy, housebreaking, larceny and making a false official statement. If convicted, they could face life imprisonment.
November 8th, 2006  
War with rules... it is an oxymoron. I am not condoning this sort of behaviour but I can clearly understand how it happens.

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