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Accused Marine Faces Life in Prison for Death of Iraqi Soldier

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Tom Fudge: Yesterday, an attorney made closing arguments in a Camp Pendleton military trial of a Marine accused of murdering an Iraqi soldier. Lance Cpl. Delano Holmes, of Indianapolis, is accused of stabbing to death Pvt. Munther Jasem Muhammed Hasseen on Dec. 31, 2006. The two were standing guard together in Fallujah. According to testimony, a dispute between the two men began over a cigarette lit by the victim. The guard post the men were at had been the target of snipers. Lighting a cigarette at night is considered a dangerous aid to insurgent snipers, trying to pick off American troops.

Defense attorneys say a fight began over the cigarette and Holmes stabbed Haseen in self-defense. Prosecutors say Holmes acted with malicious intent, and lied to cover up his murder. Tony Perry has been covering the trial. Tony is San Diego bureau chief for the LA Times, and he's been to Iraq to cover American operations there several times. He's headed back to Iraq after the first of the year.

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