Monday, August 20, 2007
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A Camp Pendleton Marine has been charged with murdering a captured Iraqi insurgent three years ago in Fallujah, the Marine Corps announced Monday.
Sgt. Jermaine A. Nelson is the second man charged in a case centered around allegations a Marine squad shot a group of unarmed captives during heavy fighting in November 2004.
Nelson was charged Thursday with one count of murder for killing "an unknown foreign national," according to a Marine statement.
Nelson's defense lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.
Squad leader Jose Nazario, 27, was charged last week with voluntary manslaughter in the killings. Because he completed his military service, Nazario faces charges in federal court.
Both men belonged to a squad from Kilo Company of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment at the time of the killing. A different squad from the same company was a year later involved in the killings of 24 civilians in Haditha. Nelson and Nazario are not connected to that incident.
According to a criminal complaint against Nazario, the killings occurred Nov. 9, 2004. The complaint says several Marines, whose names are redacted from the complaint, allege Nazario shot two Iraqi men who had been detained while his squad searched a house for insurgents. The complaint claims four Iraqi men were killed during the action.
It is unclear from court papers how Nelson allegedly killed a prisoner.
The complaint states the squad had been taking fire from the house. After the troops entered the building and captured the insurgents, Nazario placed a call on his radio.
"Nazario said that he was asked, 'Are they dead yet?"' the complaint states. When Nazario responded that the captives were still alive, he was allegedly told by the Marine on the radio to "make it happen."
Nazario told reporters last week that he is innocent of any wrongdoing.
The allegations first surfaced when a former corporal from the squad, Ryan Weemer, applied for a job with the Secret Service. Investigators claim Weemer described the killings during a polygraph test that included a question about whether he had participated in a wrongful death, said his attorney, Paul Hackett.