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A military officer tasked with assessing the government’s case against Pfc. John Jodka III has recommended that the Marine stand trial on charges of murdering and kidnapping an Iraqi, according to the Associated Press.

Joseph Casas, Jodka’s attorney, told the AP that an investigating officer had forwarded his recommendation that Jodka face a full court martial proceeding to Lt. Gen. James Mattis, who will make the ultimate decision.

Jodka is one of seven Camp Pendleton Marines and a Navy medic charged with murder, kidnapping, conspiracy and other crimes in connection with the April 26 shooting death of Hashim Ibrahim Awad, a resident of Hamdaniya, Iraq.

Casas’ announcement comes two weeks after Jodka faced an Article 32 hearing, the military version of a civilian grand jury hearing.

Joseph Low, an attorney for Cpl. Marshall L. Magincalda, another accused Marine who also faced an Article 32 hearing last month, said in an interview that the investigating officer made no recommendation whether Magincalda should face a full court martial.

“He didn’t indicate one way or another,” Low said. “He just reviewed the evidence and forwarded it up the chain of command,” to Mattis.

Low also told the AP that the investigating officer in his client’s case said murder charges would be difficult to prove based on the prosecution’s evidence.

“The investigating officer believes, based on the evidence that was given to him to review, that it would be difficult for the government to prove many of the facts of the murder allegation,” said Low.

The investigating officer in the case against Lance Cpl. Jerry E. Shumate Jr., who had an Article 32 hearing earlier this week, has yet to make a recommendation, Shumate’s lawyer said.

DANIEL STRUMPF

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