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Marine from Madison, Ill. will plead guilty in murder case


CAMP PENDLETON Calif. – A Marine from the Metro-East town of Madison, Illinois has agreed to plead guilty to un-premeditated murder in the death of an Iraqi man last year.

That's according to the North County Times in California. Trent Thomas, a graduate of Venice High School, is one of seven Marines and a Navy corpsman who were charged in June.

Prosecutors allege they took the Iraqi to a roadside hole and shot him, then made it look like they had caught him planting a bomb.

The three Marines and sailor who have so far pleaded guilty have gotten prison terms of less than two years.

In all, Cpl. Thomas was expected to enter guilty pleas on Thursday to charges of unpremediated murder, assault, larceny, conspiracy, housebreaking and making a false official statement, said his attorney Victor Kelley.

Thomas would be sentenced in the coming weeks, said Lt. Col. Colby Vokey, the Marine Corps' defense coordinator for the western United States. Terms of his pretrial agreement were not disclosed.

Prosecutors allege Thomas' squad kidnapped 52-year-old Hashim Ibrahim Awad, took him to a roadside hole and shot him to death on April 26 in Hamdania. They then placed an AK-47 and shovel by his body to try to make it look like Awad was an insurgent who had been caught in the act of planting a bomb, prosecutors said.

Seven Marines and one Navy corpsman were charged in June with kidnapping, murder and other offenses. Thomas was to be the first to plead guilty to unpremeditated murder.

They each received prison terms of less than two years under their plea deals.

Another Marine, Cpl. Marshall L. Magincalda, 23, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to murder and other charges. His trial was set for April 8.

Some of the Marines, including Thomas, also were charged with assault in an earlier incident in which prosecutors allege several Iraqi men were abused during questioning. Details of the assaults surfaced during the probe into Awad's death, prosecutors said.

Thomas also was expected to plead guilty in that case.

Phone messages left by The Associated Press after hours seeking comment from Kelley were not immediately returned.


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