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Marine admits hazing California Marine who committed suicide in Afghanistan

January 30, 2012 |  7:00 pm

One of three Marines accused of hazing a California Marine before he committed suicide pleaded guilty Monday to an assault charge as part of a plea bargain. In exchange, other charges were dropped.

Lance Cpl. Jacob Jacoby admitted that he punched and kicked Lance Cpl. Harry Lew out of anger because Lew kept falling asleep while on guard duty in Afghanistan, according to the Associated Press.

Jacoby was sentenced to 30 days confinement and reduction in rank to private first-class.

Two other Marines are also charged with hazing Lew, who committed suicide April 3 at an outpost in Helmand province. The 21-year-old Lew, from Santa Clara, was the nephew of Rep. Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park).

Chu and the dead Marine's father, Allen Lew, attended the court-martial proceeding at the base at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. "I want to make sure that there is justice for Harry," Chu told the AP.

Lew killed himself with his machine gun. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, based in Hawaii.

Before killing himself, Lew scrawled a message on his arm: "May hate me now but in the long run this was the right choice. I'm sorry my mom deserves the truth."

--Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Allen Lew and Rep. Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park) at the court-martial of one of three Marines accused of hazing Lew's son before he committed suicide in Afghanistan. Chu is Lance Cpl. Harry Lew's aunt.

Credit: Kent Nishimura / Associated Press