Marine to serve 8 years in killing of Iraqi


Feb 17, 2007

CAMP PENDLETON, California (CNN) -- A U.S. Marine will serve no more than eight years in prison in connection with the killing of an Iraqi civilian, a Marine Corps spokesman said Saturday.

Marine Lance Cpl. Robert Pennington was sentenced to 14 years' confinement but will serve no more than eight under a plea agreement, Marine spokesman Sean Gibson told CNN.

Pennington pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges regarding the death of Hashim Ibrahim Awad, 52, in Hamdaniya, west of Baghdad.

Pennington was among a group of seven Marines and a Navy medic charged in Awad's death. He and two other Marines were ordered to stand trial in October.

Pennington agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit premeditated murder and kidnapping, and to a kidnapping charge. Other charges he faced were dismissed at sentencing.

He was given credit for the 340 days he served in pretrial confinement, Gibson said.

On February 8, Marine Cpl. Trent Thomas withdrew his guilty plea in the case, saying he now believes he acted under a lawful order. (Full story (

The Navy medic, Hospital Corpsman Melson Bacos, pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy and kidnapping and agreed to testify against the Marines. Bacos was sentenced to a year in the brig.

He has testified that Marines were conducting a house-to-house search for suspected insurgents when they came across Awad, a retired policeman and a veteran of Iraq's war with Iran in the 1980s.

Bacos said Awad's hands and feet were bound and he was dragged from his home and shot numerous times. Then, he said, one Marine put the dead man's fingerprints on a rifle and shovel to make it look like he had been caught trying to plant a roadside bomb.