The Morning Report
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A preliminary hearing for Cpl. Marshall L. Magincalda, one of the eight Camp Pendleton based service men accused of murder, kidnapping and conspiracy in connection with the April 26 shooting death of an Iraqi man in Hamdaniya, ended shortly after it started today.

No testimony was given during the Article 32 hearing, but prosecutors submitted evidence to Col. Robert Chester, the investigating officer, who will make a recommendation as to whether the charges against Magincalda should be dismissed, referred for administrative punishment or be referred to a full court martial, according to wire reports.

The prosecution asked Chester to focus on statements made by three of the other Marines accused of participating in the alleged murder. Those statements include information about an alleged conspiracy to falsify evidence given to investigators by Lance Cpl. Robert Pennington; an alleged confession given to investigators by the squad leader Sgt. Lawrence G. Hutchins III; and video tape that features Cpl. Trent D. Thomas’ alleged confession, the wire report stated.

Pennington, Hutchins and Thomas face the same charges.

Magincalda’s civilian defense attorney asked Chester to consider declarations made by Hutchins and Thomas only as statements rather than confessions, according to the wire report.

Chester isn’t expected to announce a decision until Friday at the earliest.

DANIEL STRUMPF

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