Marine pleads guilty to assault in case of Iraqi’s killing
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – A Marine was sentenced to 21 months in prison Tuesday after pleading guilty to lesser charges in the killing of an unarmed Iraqi civilian whose body was left with an AK-47 and a shovel to make him look like an insurgent.Lance Cpl. Jerry E. Shumate Jr. entered his pleas to aggravated assault and conspiracy to obstruct justice through his civilian attorney, Steve Immel, during court-martial proceedings. In return for his guilty pleas, the government dismissed other charges against Shumate, including murder, kidnapping, assault and conspiracy.Shumate was part of a squad of seven Marines and a sailor who were charged with kidnapping 52-year-old Hashim Ibrahim Awad in the rural Iraqi town of Hamdania, dragging him to a roadside hole, shooting him and then trying to cover it up.Shumate is the fourth squad member to accept a plea to lesser charges in exchange for his testimony.Testifying in a loud but sometimes halting voice, Shumate recalled that the squad was on a nighttime patrol seeking insurgents planting bombs April 26.All eight of the men agreed to a plan to kill a known insurgent, and four left to kidnap him, Shumate said.When they returned with a prisoner, Shumate said he was “told to fire” by the squad leader and thought he was shooting at the insurgent. He learned only later that it was Awad, whom prosecutors have described as a disabled father of 11.Shumate faced up to 15 years in prison.Two other Marines and a Navy corpsman earlier pleaded guilty to lesser charges. The longest any of the three was ordered to serve was 21 months.Four senior squad members still face kidnapping and murder charges.