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Lance Cpl. Tyler Jackson, a Camp Pendleton-based Marine charged with murder, kidnapping and conspiracy in the April shooting death of an Iraqi man, is expected to plead guilty to lesser charges during a court martial hearing next week.

Thomas Watt, Jackson’s attorney, told the North County Times that his client has reached a plea agreement with government prosecutors but declined to discuss the terms of the deal.

In June, Jackson, six other Marines and a Navy Medic were charged with murder, kidnapping and conspiracy in connection with the April 26 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.

Jackson was one of several Marines who allegedly fired his weapon at Awad, according to government charging documents.

By pleading guilty, Jackson will become the third members of Kilo Company of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment to reach an agreement with prosecutors.

Last week, Pfc. John Jodka III, an Encinitas native, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and conspiracy to obstruct justice. 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.

Both Jodka and Bacos testified against their squad mates as part of their plea agreements.

DANIEL STRUMPF

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