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Two Marines Face Juries on Murder Charges

The final two trials begin this week in prosecution of the "Pendleton 8." That's the group of Marines and a Navy corpsman who were charged in the kidnapping and killing of an Iraqi civilian in Hamdani

Two Marines Face Juries on Murder Charges

The final two trials begin this week in prosecution of the "Pendleton 8." That's the group of Marines and a Navy corpsman who were charged in the kidnapping and killing of an Iraqi civilian in Hamdania. Corporal Marshall Magincalda faces a military judge and jury today. He's on trial for murder. Tomorrow, opening arguments begin in the trial of Sergeant Lawrence Hutchins -- the seasoned leader of the "Pendleton 8." KPBS reporter Andrew Phelps takes a closer look.

According to testimony, Hutchins wanted revenge on an Iraqi insurgent. Hutchins allegedly hatched a plan with his squad mates to kill the insurgent and make it look like an accident. Court records show the squad couldn't find the insurgent they wanted, so they snatched a civilian who lived next door. Then they shot him to death. Prosecutors say Sergeant Hutchins fired one of the shots that killed the man.

Five of the squad mates pleaded guilty to some charges in deals with prosecutors. Now Hutchins is taking his chances at trial. And Hutchins can't argue he was just taking orders because his squad mates say he gave those orders.

His fellow Marines testified under oath that Hutchins was a killer. One Marine testified that Hutchins congratulated his buddies for "getting away with murder."

Andrew Phelps, KPBS News.