Skip to comments.Accused troops' supporters busy fundraising - Hamdaniya / 'Pendleton 8' defense funds
Posted on 06/22/2006 8:16:03 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Friends and family are rallying around the seven Marines and a Navy medic charged with killing an Iraqi civilian, setting up Web sites to raise money and draw attention to what they claim is an unfair prosecution.
The troops are charged with premeditated murder and could face the death penalty if convicted. Supporters are scrambling to raise tens of thousands of dollars to pay defense attorneys.
"We are not rich, but we are doing anything we can," said Diann Shumate of Matlock, Wash., mother of 20-year-old Marine Lance Cpl. Jerry Shumate Jr.
Military prosecutors allege the troops kidnapped an Iraqi man from his home, tied him up, put him in a hole by the side of a road and sprayed him with bullets, then sought to cover up the crime by making it appear the man was armed and attempting to plant explosives. The troops are being held in the brig at Camp Pendleton.
Shumate does not work, and her husband is an electrician. She does not know how much lawyers' fees will be, but expects them to be "outrageous."
"We have been collecting cans. We've depleted our savings, and if we owned our house, we would put it up," she said. The couple had raised $100 at a yard sale and has a fundraising barbecue planned.
All eight of the men were assigned military defense attorneys, paid for by the Marine Corps. Each has also hired a civilian lawyer.
Families of the men say their loved ones are good soldiers who would never intentionally kill an innocent person.
Terry Pennington, father of accused Marine Lance Cpl. Robert Pennington, of Mukilteo, Wash., has used a portion of his family's savings to pay $10,000 in initial attorney's fees. He plans to start a Web site to raise more money.
Several other families have already done so, setting up stars-and-stripes-festooned sites with names like http://www.innocentmarine.com and http://www.defensefundformyhero.com.
John Jodka II, father of accused Marine Pfc. John Jodka III, has hired two defense attorneys at an initial cost of $10,000 but expects the final bill to be a "six-figure amount."
"We'll do whatever we need to do," said Jodka, of Encinitas, Calif.
Like Pennington, Jodka has been campaigning to keep his son's case in the public eye, appearing on a procession of news shows.
Family members believe that by drawing attention to the case they can ratchet up public pressure on the Pentagon and elected officials.
Last week, Camp Pendleton reduced the troops' level of security from maximum to medium and dropped a requirement that they be shackled whenever out of their cells. Military officials said the decision was made after a routine hearing, but Jodka thinks public pressure played a role.
"I think it was a catalyst, but there are a lot of people that helped," Jodka said.
For the last two Saturdays, protesters have congregated outside the base's main gate to protest the detention of the men. Another protest is planned this weekend.
Last year, Marine Lt. Ilario Pantano faced a court martial on charges he murdered two Iraqi civilians. He claimed self-defense, and his mother ran a high-profile publicity campaign during his trial. The charges eventually were dismissed.
Jodka cites that case as his "template," saying support in the community "had a direct effect at how people looked at the evidence being presented to the prosecution. That sunshine to the prosecution's case is exactly my intent here."
Besides Shumate, Pennington and Jodka, the other troops charged are Sgt. Lawrence G. Hutchins III of Plymouth, Mass., Cpl. Trent D. Thomas of Oceanside, Calif., Navy Hospitalman 3rd Class Melson J. Bacos of Franklin, Wisc., Lance Cpl. Tyler A. Jackson of Oceanside, and Cpl. Marshall L. Magincalda of Manteca, Calif.
On the Net:
Camp Pendleton: http://www.cpp.usmc.mil
The web site being set up by Terry Pennington, father of accused Marine Lance Cpl. Robert Pennington, should be going online soon as well. He was on the Hannity radio talk show today and passed this info on at that time.
The current message at this web sit says:
Thanks for visiting defendrob.com. We are feverishly working on getting a functioning web page in place. Until we have it functioning you may email Lcpl Robert Pennington's father Terry at this address to voice your support for our brave Marine son.
Please go to the page to access the email address if you would like to send an email of support.
In this undated photo released by the Pennington family, Marine Lance Cpl. Robert B. Pennington, of Mukilteo, Wash., is shown with his father Terry, left, and mother Deanna, as he prepares to be deployed at Camp Pendelton, Calif. Pennington, 21, and six other Marines and a Navy corpsman were charged with murder and kidnapping Wednesday, June 21, 2006, in the death of Hashim Ibrahim Awad, who was pulled from his home and shot while U.S. troops hunted for insurgents in Iraq. (AP Photo/Pennington Family)
In this photo released courtesy of the Pennington family, Marine Lance Cpl. Robert B. Pennington, of Mukilteo, Wash., hugs his mother, Deanna Pennington, as he arrives back at Camp Pendleton, Calif., after his second deployment at the end of April 2005. Pennington, 21, and six other Marines and a Navy corpsman were charged with murder and kidnapping Wednesday, June 21, 2006, in the death of Hashim Ibrahim Awad, who was pulled from his home and shot while U.S. troops hunted for insurgents in Iraq. (AP Photo/Courtesy of the Pennington Family)
Michael Savage has really been a big supporter. Today's show was really good.
Please feel free to forward this info to radio talk shows and help get the word out.
Thanks for the links and the info. Support is on the way.
Something is missing here. Why would these Marines kidnap an apparently (from other news reports) disabled Iraqi man, and make what appears to be considerable effort to commit premeditated murder, during the middle of a firefight? Why did they single out this guy?
I know that I don't trust the Marine Corps brass or Navy JAG Corps (which I assume is prosecuting the case) to run this thing "politics free" and by the book. The fact that they put these guys in super-max lock-up tells me just about all I need to know about their intentions. I want to know the facts, and I'm not sure they'll come from a Harvard educated, ABA affiliated JAG lawyer.
I would never tolerate a war crime, nor defend war criminals, but I'm not sure that these Marines (plus a sailor) represent that. I may have to get involved in this.
Dubya's political prisoners.
Don't be shy, Please. :-)
They are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
I have seen the victim described as a disabled man and a farmer so far.
I would be curious how much land or property he had, his family connections and political leanings, how many acres he might have farmed if he was a farmer, and also what may be buried on his property and yet to be uncovered.
But that's just me.
I await formal proceedings and a fair and even presentation of the evidence, nothing less.
As a Marine mom, this whole scenario (and Haditha) is extremely upsetting to me. Reading about these young men and their sacrifices, patriotism, loyalty to the Corps... it just brings tears to my eyes to think about what they are facing. I suppose it is premature to "go there"...but in trying to make some sense of it all, does anyone have any off-handed speculation as to what REALLY happened or what is going on with the allegations contrasted to reality? I cannot seem to get my brain around this all, and it breaks my heart to contemplate that the futures of these young men might be completely destroyed for some political motives.
Semper Fi - May God be with these brave Marines as they face the coming challenges.
"Military prosecutors allege the troops kidnapped an Iraqi man from his home, tied him up, put him in a hole by the side of a road and sprayed him with bullets, then sought to cover up the crime by making it appear the man was armed and attempting to plant explosives."
That's really hard to believe. Matter of fact, I *don't* believe it.
What is going on in our military that these charges were ever lodged?
Right, who says this is what happened? What is their source? Another Iraqi "news" guy, like the Haditha one? They guy that was jailed several times by the US? Who made these chages? Who reported it?
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