Marine general rejects plea to drop charge of murdering Iraq detainee despite trial setbacks

Marines reject plea to drop Iraq murder charge

CAMP PENDLELTON, Calif. — The Marines are sticking with their decision to court-martial a sergeant accused of murdering an unarmed detainee in Iraq, despite the acquittal of two Marines in the same case.

Attorney Joseph Low says Gen. Samuel Helland decided Friday that he won’t drop charges against Sgt. Jermaine Nelson. The Marine has pleaded not guilty to unpremeditated murder and dereliction of duty in the November 2004 death in Fallujah.

Low urged the general to reconsider during a private meeting Wednesday.

Nelson’s squadmate, Sgt. Ryan Weemer, was acquitted of murder this month by a military jury. His squad leader, former Sgt. Jose Luis Nazario, was acquitted in August in federal court on counts that included voluntary manslaughter.

No trial date has been set.


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