- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 5, 2006

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (AP) — A Navy corpsman accused of kidnapping and murdering an Iraqi man will give testimony about seven Marines’ role in the incident in return for having charges against him dropped, his attorney said Wednesday.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Melson J. Bacos was a medic who patrolled with the Marine squad that purportedly kidnapped and killed 52-year-old Hashim Ibrahim Awad last April in the town of Hamdania. All eight were charged with crimes including premeditated murder and kidnapping.

“We have reached an agreement with the government which will take Bacos out of harm’s way,” said attorney Jeremiah Sullivan III. “He is innocent of these murder charges and they are being dismissed and rightfully so.”

Under the deal, Petty Officer Bacos is expected to give details of the incident today at a general court-martial at Camp Pendleton, Mr. Sullivan said. In return, all of the charges against him will be dismissed.

But he will plead guilty to two new charges, said Mr. Sullivan, who declined to elaborate.

Marine Lt. Col. Scott Jack, Petty Officer Bacos’ military attorney, also declined to elaborate on the deal, except to say, “It is a very beneficial agreement for Bacos, and gives him an extremely bright future.”

Marine spokesman Lt. Col. Sean Gibson said it would not be appropriate to comment on any potential negotiations between the accused and the prosecution.

The plea deal came as two of the Marines charged in the case, Pfc. John J. Jodka III and Cpl. Marshall L. Magincalda, pleaded not guilty at their arraignment Wednesday.

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