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Trial of Marine accused of murdering Iraqi continues today

April 3, 2009 |  9:51 am

RyanXXThe court-martial of Marine Sgt. Ryan Weemer, accused of murdering an Iraqi prisoner, continues today at Camp Pendleton and may go to the jury of eight Marine officers early next week.

Although Weemer confessed to killing the Iraqi in two tape-recorded interviews in 2006, the prosecution is hampered by lack of forensic evidence and lack of a name for the alleged victim.

On Thursday, the prosecution's case suffered another setback when Weemer's former squad leader, former Sgt. Jose Luis Nazario, refused to testify, despite being given immunity and being told that he could be held in contempt of court.

When Nazario was tried in federal court on similar charges, Weemer refused to testify against him, also despite being given immunity and threatened with jail. Nazario was acquitted by a civilian jury.

Weemer's jury is made up of eight Marines, all with experience in Iraq, Afghanistan or both. Weemer is accused of killing a prisoner during the battle for Fallouja in November 2004. His attorney asserts that he fired in self-defense.

Under military rules, a two-thirds vote of the jurors will be needed for conviction. Only one vote will be taken.

-- Tony Perry

Photo: Sgt. Ryan Weemer. Credit: Marine Corps