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Lance Cpl. Jerry E. Shumate Jr. is expected to plead not guilty to murder and other charges when he’s arraigned today at Camp Pendleton.

Shumate, six other Marines and a Navy medic are 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.

Charging documents filed by government prosecutors allege that Shumate was one of five Marines who shot Awad to death. Shumate is also charged with assaulting another Iraqi civilian in an unrelated incident that allegedly took place in early April.

Last month, a government investigator testified during a preliminary hearing, that Shumate broke down in tears during an interrogation before signing a sworn statement. That document has yet to be made public.

By pleading not guilty, Shumate will become the third Marine to officially refute the charges against them. Last week, a Navy medic accused of slaying Awad pleaded guilty to lesser charges and testified against his co-defendants after reaching an agreement with prosecutors.

Attorneys for some of the Marines are also discussing plea agreements with the government, according to published reports.

DANIEL STRUMPF

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