A Camp Pendleton Marine is expected to plead guilty this week in the shooting death of an Iraqi man.

An attorney for Pfc. John Jodka III, an Encinitas native, told the North County Times that his client will plead guilty to assault and obstruction of justice on Thursday. Jodka’s attorney declined to discuss the terms of the agreement, the newspaper reported.

Jodka, six other Marines and a Navy medic are charged with murder, kidnapping and conspiracy in connection with the April shooting death of Hashim Ibrahim Awad, an Iraqi man in Hamdaniya, a small village west of Baghdad.

Government prosecutors allege that the accused abducted Awad from his home, bound his hands and feet and shot him to death. The troops then used a stolen shovel and shell casings from the stolen rifle to make it appear as if Awad was an insurgent caught in the act of planting a roadside bomb, authorities allege.

Earlier this month, Petty Officer 3rd Class Melson J. Bacos, the Navy Medic, became the first of the accused to accept responsibility for Awad’s death when he pleaded guilty to conspiracy and kidnapping charges. Under a plea agreement, Bacos agreed to testify against his squad mates and prosecutors dropped the murder charge against him.

Bacos was sentenced to serve 12 months in the brig.


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