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The 'Pendleton 8': A look at the 7 Marines and Navy corpsman charged in Hamdania incident
North County Times ^ | 7/22/06 | Teri Figueroa and Mark Walker

Posted on 07/23/2006 10:04:07 AM PDT by NormsRevenge

One is described as a patriot. Another is said to be a bookworm and budding poet. One loves the Red Sox; another loves animals. Ongoing Coverage: Hamdania

One helped feed the homeless at a soup kitchen last Thanksgiving, and another had plans to leave the service and become an architect.

Until this spring, their common bond was service as members of Kilo Company from the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment based at Camp Pendleton.

Now, each has a much different kind of bond: They are imprisoned in the base brig for allegedly conspiring to kidnap, bind and kill Hashim Ibrahim Awad, a 52-year-old veteran of the Iran-Iraq war.

Charging documents released by the Marine Corps on June 21 allege that the men also stole an AK-47 assault rifle and staged the scene to make it appear that Awad was in the midst of planting a roadside bomb when he was killed in Hamdania, Iraq.

Collectively, the seven Marines and Navy corpsman charged in Awad's April 26 death represent a cross-section of young American men.

The accusations against them soon will be heard in what are known as Article 32 hearings in a Camp Pendleton courtroom. Those hearings are the first step in determining whether the charges will stand.

The hearings are expected to begin in late August or September, approximately 100 days since they were first incarcerated at Camp Pendleton. It remained unclear last week whether there will be eight individual hearings or some combination.

If it is determined there is sufficient cause for the charges to move forward, a court-martial will be convened and a military jury empaneled. The men have been in the brig since May 24.

Their family members and civilian attorneys hired to assist in their defense assert the men are innocent. Those attorneys also have complained on several occasions that they are not getting sufficient information from the military, such as investigative reports they say they need to adequately prepare for the Article 32 hearings.

Last week, the lawyers also complained the Marine Corps will not provide them with an independent defense investigator to travel to Iraq to interview witnesses. A Marine Corps spokesman said that doing so now would be premature, but may be done later.

Here is a look at each of the Marines and the Navy corpsman based on interviews with family members, attorneys, service records, newspaper accounts and Web sites established to help raise defense funds for the group dubbed by some supporters as the "Pendleton 8."

At the end of each biographical sketch is what each is specifically accused of in Awad's death:

Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins III

Years of hoping, and finally. After 87 years of curses, in 2004 the Boston Red Sox won the World Series.

And Sgt. Lawrence "Larry" Hutchins ---- often heard to say that "this is the year" ---- was beside himself.

"He was so happy when they won," fiancee Reyna Griffin said recently. "I just received a letter from him and he was saying that he could not wait to teach our daughter about baseball and the Red Sox."

The 22-year-old grew up in Plymouth, Mass., about 40 miles south of Boston and his beloved Fenway Park.

As a boy, Hutchins played ball for about 10 years. He was a pitcher and he "was very good," Griffin said.

The couple, who met on the school bus their sophomore year of high school, have a daughter, Kylie. Hutchins was stationed in Georgia when his little girl was born, and first got to see her when she was 3 weeks old.

"He's an all-around good guy, great father and a dedicated Marine," Griffin said.

He spent some time as a lifeguard in Plymouth. Early in his senior year ---- he graduated from high school in 2002 ---- Hutchins decided to join the Marines, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. He enlisted on Oct. 29 of that year and was on his first tour of Iraq when the killing took place.

Hutchins, the senior enlisted man charged in the case, is accused of filing false radio and written reports and firing one of the shots that killed Awad. He also is accused of directing his subordinates on several occasions between April 26 and May 10 to lie to Marine commanders about what had occurred.

Cpl. Marshall Magincalda

A poet whose mother says he "devoured books like they were candy," the soft-spoken Cpl. Marshall Magincalda ---- his nickname is "Magic" ---- was twice wounded during prior trips to Iraq, earning two Purple Hearts.

One came after he was hit in the face with shrapnel from an explosion; the second came after he was shot in the stomach at close range while clearing a house in Iraq. The round sliced one of his magazines and knocked him to the ground ---- but his flak jacket stopped the bullet. He dug the metal out and kept it, according to his mother, Leanne Magincalda.

The 23-year-old loves video games, and recently took up the guitar and enjoyed jam sessions with fellow Marines. He joined the service on Nov. 12, 2002, and was on his second tour of duty in Iraq.

While at Sierra High School, in Manteca, he ran track, lifted weights and skipped the junk food, his mom said. He has a special connection to the outdoors as his family owns several seasonal members-only hunting and wildlife preserves where he learned to shoot at about 7 years old.

The corporal holds his Christian faith very close, his mother said.

"It is a major, integral part" of his makeup, Leanne Magincalda said, adding that the "path to his side was well-worn" by buddies in Iraq seeking his counsel.

He is spending time in the brig memorizing the Bible, starting with the book of John, she said.

The Marine Corps alleges Magincalda participated in the abduction of Awad, took him to a hole dug at a roadside intersection, forced him to the ground and bound his hands and feet.

Cpl. Trent Thomas

Born in St. Louis, as a teenager Trent Thomas moved across the Mississippi River to Illinois, where he graduated from high school.

"He was a good kid," his mother, Linda, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "He loved animals and just doing normal kid things. He wasn't a troubled child or anything."

Thomas married in March 2004, and he and his wife, Erica, have a little girl who will turn 2 in October.

He was on his second tour in Iraq, his wife said. He was in the Middle East when his daughter was born, and didn't see daughter Kayla until she was 6 months old.

A Purple Heart recipient, Thomas was on his second tour when he saw his best friend shot and killed in a firefight, his wife said.

Before the accusations came up, Thomas, 24, was planning to re-enlist for four more years rather than leave the Marine Corps in November.

He is accused of helping to abduct Awad, taking him to where he was killed and helping bind his hands and feet. Thomas also is charged with firing his M-16 rifle at Awad.

Hospitalman 3rd Class Melson Bacos

A native of the Milwaukee area, Melson Bacos is married to another Navy corpsman and has a daughter, born in April 2005.

On a Web site established by his wife to help raise money for his defense, she wrote that her husband was on his second deployment to Iraq when the incident in Hamdania took place.

During his first tour in Iraq, 19 Marines from his battalion lost their lives, including nine from his company, two of whom died in his arms, she writes.

The son of Filipino immigrants, Bacos joined the Navy right after graduating from high school. He was a member of the varsity wrestling team each of his four years at Franklin High School in Franklin, Wis.

On a Myspace.com Web site listing under his name, Bacos wrote: "I've seen it all in combat and now I'm at it again. I live for my family and their future."

Bacos is accused of stealing an AK-47 assault rifle and a shovel, helping abduct Awad and later firing rounds from the assault rifle in an alleged attempt to stage the scene to make it appear that Awad was planting a roadside bomb.

Lance Cpl. Tyler Jackson

When Tyler Jackson was 15, he spent two weeks at Camp Pendleton in the Devil Pups, a program started by a former Marine in the 1950s that brings teenagers to Camp Pendleton in July and August for 10 days of training and instruction in citizenship and physical development.

Six years later, after spending some time as the assistant manager at a movie theater in his hometown of Tracy, he decided the time had come for him to enlist in the Marine Corps.

"Joining was not a rash decision," his father, Phil Jackson, has said. "It was something he was deliberately considering."

Last year, while home on a short leave from Camp Pendleton, Jackson impressed his mother by taking a few hours to go to a soup kitchen to feed the homeless on Thanksgiving.

Jackson, 22, went to Iraq for the first time in January, nine months after he enlisted. A week before he left, the infantryman was promoted to his current rank of lance corporal.

His father said that while Jackson was on patrol in Iraq, a pickup with a mounted machine gun pulled up behind him and began shooting. Jackson and another Marine escaped the ambush by running and diving into a ditch, Phil Jackson said.

Tyler Jackson is accused of stealing an AK-47 assault rifle allegedly planted near Awad's body, helping bind his hands and feet, and firing one of the shots that killed the Iraqi.

Lance Cpl. Robert Pennington

Robert Pennington joined the Marine Corps as a skinny, 6-foot, 145-pound teenager before graduating high school in 2002 in the Seattle area.

"He was patriotic and cared about what happened on 9/11," his mother, Deanna, said. "He wanted to give something back to his country. He had other choices, and he could have gone to college."

She said her son took college classes, such as calculus and physics, in high school and planned to attend college in California to become an architect after completing his service in October.

Pennington, who turned 22 in the brig on July 3, still laughs out loud when watching cartoons. He also loves the Dave Matthews Band and playing video games, his mom said.

The infantryman was on his third tour in Iraq after joining the Marines on Oct. 15, 2002.

During a push to gain control of Fallujah, the lance corporal saw his best friend and roommate from Camp Pendleton killed a day after his 21st birthday, Deanna Pennington said.

He is accused of helping to take Awad to the site where he died, binding the man's hands and feet and wiping squad members' fingerprints from the AK-47. He is also accused of placing the gun and a shovel in Awad's hands.

Lance Cpl. Jerry Shumate

A native of the small western Washington town of Matlock, 20-year-old Lance Cpl. Jerry Shumate was always someone who came to the defense of the weaker kids he knew at school, his mother, Diann Shumate, said.

While in high school, he got into a confrontation with another boy over a girl, his mother told her hometown newspaper, The Daily World of Aberdeen. Rather than fight the boy, she said he simply sat on him until help arrived.

"He didn't want to hurt him," she told the newspaper.

Shumate joined the Marines shortly after graduating from high school.

On her personal MySpace.com Web site, his older sister, Amanda, writes that her family considers the young Marine a "real life hero" destined to do great things.

"At home, we have begun to fight the battle of our lives," she writes, adding that a U.S. flag at the family home is being flown at half-staff until her brother is exonerated.

Shumate is accused of firing one of the numerous shots that struck Awad.

Pfc. John Jodka III

John Jodka III is an Encinitas native. He attended elementary and middle school at St. James Academy, a Catholic school in Solana Beach, and graduated from San Dieguito Academy in 2004. He then headed off to attend UC Riverside.

But, after a quarter in college, the pull was just too strong. He wanted to be a Marine.

So, in May 2005, he shipped off to boot camp. By January, he had landed on the sands of Iraq. He was there when he turned 20 in April.

Before he left, he gave his dad, John Jodka Jr., a copy of his dog tags ---- and his dad wears them around his neck.

The young Marine has a 17-year-old brother, a 15-year-old sister, and two older stepbrothers, one of whom is a deputy sheriff in North County.

Jodka's father said his son is one of those people who sees the bigger picture and the deeper meanings, one of those well-read, well-spoken, mature-for-his-age kind of kids.

He's also "hilarious," dad said. And a big fan of Star Wars.

Jodka is accused of firing his M-249 automatic machine gun at Awad and helping cause the fatal wounds. He is also accused of lying to investigators.


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government; US: California; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: charged; hamdania; hamdaniya; incident; marines; navycorpsman; pendleton8
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1 posted on 07/23/2006 10:04:10 AM PDT by NormsRevenge
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To: NormsRevenge


Help the 'Pendleton 8' and their families.

VIDEO-Camp Pendleton demonstration for Marines
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1655852/posts


-0-

Accused troops' supporters busy fundraising - Hamdaniya / 'Pendleton 8' defense funds ^
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1654104/posts


Dozens rally at Camp Pendleton gates(24 June 2006) ^
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1655341/posts


Military justice under spotlight in Hamdania case - 'Pendleton 8' - 7 Marines, 1 Navy Corpsman ^
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1655333/posts


Lawyers for Marines, medic plan counterattack in Iraq murder case - Hamdaniya - 'Pendleton 8' ^
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1656712/posts


FREE REPUBLIC EXCLUSIVE: DIRECT INFORMATION ON THE 7 MARINES AND SAILOR HELD FOR MURDER
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1659084/posts


Defending the accused: Many attorneys in Hamdania case practiced law .. in military - 'Pendleton 8'
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1659351/posts


Letter reportedly from accused servicemen expresses thanks(Camp Pendleton 8)
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1660140/posts


Delay is likely for (Camp)Pendleton(8) hearings
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1668925/posts


Attorneys for accused troops say Marine Corps hampering defenses
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1669976/posts


-0-

Some of the familes and supporters of the 7 Hamdaniya Marines & a Navy Corpsman, now charged with multiple criminal offenses, have setup web sites for use in accepting donations for legal defense funds or sending notes of encouragement and support to the detainees and their families.

Cpl. Robert Pennington
http://www.defendrob.com


PFC John Jodka
http://www.innocentmarine.com


Tyler Jackson
http://www.fightingfortyler.com


Cpl. Marshall Magincalda
http://www.defendourmarine.com


Cpl. Trent Thomas
http://www.defensefundformyhero.com


Lance Cpl Jerry Shumate
http://friendsofjerry.blogspot.com/


Hospital Corpsman Third Class Melson J. Bacos
http://patriotdefensefund.com/



Other sites supporting the men:

http://www.defendthetruth.com

http://www.warrior-fund.org

If your financial situation permits, please help as you can to defer legal representation costs.

Thanks!

2 posted on 07/23/2006 10:04:46 AM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ......The Ca GOP: Where conservatives votes count but their opinions don't.)
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To: NormsRevenge; 2111USMC; 68 grunt; A.A. Cunningham; ASOC; AirForceBrat23; Ajnin; AlaskaErik; ...



Pendleton 8 Rally - 6/24/2006 (VIDEO)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_koh0Q7N-Oc
http://innocentmarine.com/
http://www.defensefundformy...
http://patriotdefensefund.com/
Accused troops' supporters busy fundraising - Hamdaniya / 'Pendleton 8' defense funds ^
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1654104/

Some of the familes and supporters of the 7 Hamdaniya Marines & a Navy Corpsman, now charged with multiple criminal offenses, have setup web sites for use in accepting donations for legal defense funds or sending notes of encouragement and support to the detainees and their families.

Cpl. Robert Pennington
http://www.defendrob.com

PFC John Jodka
http://www.innocentmarine.com

Cpl. Trent Thomas
http://www.defensefundformyhero.com

Cpl. Jerry Shumate
http://friendsofjerry.blogspot.com/




If your financial situation permits, please help as you can to defer legal representation costs.

Thanks!


3 posted on 07/23/2006 10:07:15 AM PDT by freema (Proud Marine FRiend, Mom, Aunt, Sister, Friend, Wife, Daughter, Niece)
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To: NormsRevenge

Beat me to it, and mine WAS outdated. It's not now!

Why do you suppose it's premature for the Marine Corps to provide an independent defense investigator to travel to Iraq to interview witnesses? That doesn't sound right.


4 posted on 07/23/2006 10:11:23 AM PDT by freema (Proud Marine FRiend, Mom, Aunt, Sister, Friend, Wife, Daughter, Niece)
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To: freema

Who knows,?

The brass may decide why go thru with this one after another refusal to exhume the victim?.

Here's hoping we can close this one out and soon,


5 posted on 07/23/2006 10:13:48 AM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ......Help the "Pendleton 8' and families -- http://www.freerepublic.com/~normsrevenge/)
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To: NormsRevenge

I'm deeply ashamed of those people incarcerating these heros. What has happened to the United States? Can we survive this kind of pandering?


6 posted on 07/23/2006 10:14:45 AM PDT by RoadTest (Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, and this be our motto: in God is our trust.)
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To: freema

I still don't undestand the motive. What exactly are they charged with?


7 posted on 07/23/2006 10:16:41 AM PDT by brivette
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To: freema
Will do and thanks.

I am curious as to who first reported the 'crime'- if it was an Iraqi.............

8 posted on 07/23/2006 10:18:14 AM PDT by yoe
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To: brivette

The charges are listed at the bottom of each biography.


9 posted on 07/23/2006 10:19:33 AM PDT by freema (Proud Marine FRiend, Mom, Aunt, Sister, Friend, Wife, Daughter, Niece)
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To: brivette
They aren't charged with anything yet.

The accusations against them soon will be heard in what are known as Article 32 hearings in a Camp Pendleton courtroom.

ANY accusations against them are purely speculatory by the press until formal charges are presented during the Article 32 hearing.

Murder, conspiracy to commit murder,and conspiracy

10 posted on 07/23/2006 10:28:49 AM PDT by usmcobra (Human shields are people willing to die for terrorists and dictators.)
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To: NormsRevenge

Once we knew the details about the Haditha killings, it was pretty clear that it was and is a hoax. We still do not know any of the details here, and I'm curious why they are being held so closely.

If they guys are guilty, there are consequences. But I want some assurance that they aren't being railroaded. The enemy is learning how to use our legal system against us, and I am not confident that the JAG corps are that trustworthy; in our area we recently had a public debate about the war and the anti-war position was argued by a JAG lawyer. I hate seeing guys who are willing to face a bullet being judged by guys who aren't.


11 posted on 07/23/2006 10:29:49 AM PDT by marron
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To: yoe

Yes, it was an Iraqi.


12 posted on 07/23/2006 10:31:30 AM PDT by freema (Proud Marine FRiend, Mom, Aunt, Sister, Friend, Wife, Daughter, Niece)
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To: NormsRevenge
One thing I learned in the military.If they set out to get you,they will.Something just ain't right.Even if the so called killing was an accident,it was just that.To be sent to a war zone in such a place as Iraq,where it is hard to tell friendly from enemy,they would have to be mind readers to know who's,who.I don't think that is part of their training.I wish them the best,and pray they are right.
13 posted on 07/23/2006 10:34:41 AM PDT by xarmydog
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To: freema
Some young Marines in this area (on leave) were getting some money together so I donated through them.

I always thought it was a mistake to retain civilian counsel, but I guess things have changed since my time in the Corp.

By the way - thanks for the many pings. You're keeping this old man up to date.<];)
14 posted on 07/23/2006 10:44:37 AM PDT by cannonball
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To: freema

I understand the charges, but why would they do it? (motive)


15 posted on 07/23/2006 10:45:47 AM PDT by brivette
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To: NormsRevenge

Watch these three videos( LINK), then tell me these guys are guilty of murder.
Their only other option: Suicide.

http://www.patdollard.com/Teasers.html


16 posted on 07/23/2006 10:47:57 AM PDT by radar101 (The two hallmarks of Liberals: Fantasy and Hypocrisy)
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To: NormsRevenge

bttt


17 posted on 07/23/2006 10:49:47 AM PDT by shield (A wise man's heart is at his RIGHT hand; but a fool's heart at his LEFT. Ecc. 10:2)
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To: NormsRevenge

The accusations against them soon will be heard in what are known as Article 32 hearings in a Camp Pendleton courtroom. Those hearings are the first step in determining whether the charges will stand.
Accusations? By whom? THe Marine Corps has told the civilian attorneys that they are NOT calling any of the Raghead "Witnesses".
There is no physical evidence.

Sounds like a PR "Sacrifice them to appease CAIR" move to me.


18 posted on 07/23/2006 10:53:19 AM PDT by radar101 (The two hallmarks of Liberals: Fantasy and Hypocrisy)
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To: cannonball
"Some young Marines in this area (on leave) were getting some money together"

Where are my kleenex?

so I donated through them. I'm sure they were glad of it! How'd you find out they were doing this?

I try not to drive everybody nuts with too many pings ; ) Some days it's hard : )

19 posted on 07/23/2006 11:03:23 AM PDT by freema (Proud Marine FRiend, Mom, Aunt, Sister, Friend, Wife, Daughter, Niece)
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To: NormsRevenge

"Collectively, the seven Marines and Navy corpsman charged in Awad's April 26 death represent a cross-section of young American men."

That's a pretty loaded sentence right there. In essense subtly suggesting that all American guys can allegedly participate and murder unarmed civilians.


20 posted on 07/23/2006 11:07:24 AM PDT by KantianBurke (We Cannot Civilize, But We Can Neutralize)
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