The Article 32 hearing for Petty Officer 3rd Class Melson J. Bacos, previously scheduled for today, has been postponed.
Bacos and seven Camp Pendleton based Marines are accused of abducting Hashim Ibrahim Awad, an Iraqi, from his home in Hamdaniya. Prosecutors allege the accused bound Awad’s hands and feet, shot him to death and used a stolen shovel and rifle to make it appear as if he were an insurgent caught in the act of planting a roadside bomb.
Bacos, a Navy corpsman, allegedly stole a shovel and AK-47 assault rifle from a home in Hamdaniya, according to a narrative of events compiled by government prosecutors. After Awad’s death, Bacos allegedly fired the stolen rifle in the air to make it appear as if Awad had opened fire on the Marines, according to the same document.
Bacos’ defense team requested that the hearing be postponed, according to a press release issued by the Marine Corps. It’s been tentatively rescheduled for Oct. 19 while four other Marines are set to face hearings in the coming weeks.
Earlier this week, Lt. Gen James Mattis, commander of Marine forces in Iraq and head of the Camp Pendleton’s 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, recommended that three of the accused Marines face courts martial proceedings on various charges, including the alleged murder kidnapping of Awad.
Those trial dates have yet to be set.