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US Marine Pleads Guilty in Death of Iraqi Civilian

A U.S. Marine has entered a guilty plea in connection with the kidnapping and murder of an Iraqi man by U.S. forces in April.

Private First-Class John Jodka pleaded guilty to charges of assault and conspiracy to obstruct justice Thursday before a military judge. Prosecutors agreed to drop charges of murder, kidnapping and larceny in exchange for his plea.

He faces a maximum sentence of 15 years. He will be sentenced on November 15.

Jodka is one of eight people - seven Marines and a Navy corpsman - charged in the death of Hashim Ibrahim Awad in the town of Hamdania. He testified the squad had agreed with their squad leader to kidnap and kill a known insurgent.

Prosecutors say that when the squad could not find the insurgent, they kidnapped Awad, threw him in a hole and shot him several times. They placed a shovel and rifle near his body to suggest he had been planting a roadside bomb.

The Navy corpsman charged in the case, Marcos Bacos, pleaded guilty to kidnapping and murder earlier this month.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.