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No charges in Marine's 'friendly fire' death in Afghanistan

February 14, 2012 | 10:29 am

No criminal charges will be filed against a Marine tank commander in the "friendly fire" death in Afghanistan of a Marine from Camp Pendleton, officials announced Tuesday.

Maj. Gen. John Toolan made his decision after reviewing evidence from an Article 32 hearing, akin to a preliminary hearing or grand jury investigation.

The hearing was held to determine if charges of negligent homicide or dereliction of duty should be brought against tank commander Sgt. Jason Byrd in the Oct. 6 death of Lance Cpl. Benjamin Schmidt, 24, assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment.

Schmidt, of San Antonio, was on his second deployment to Afghanistan. A high school football player, he was attending Texas Christian University when he abruptly left college and enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2008.


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Photo: Lance Cpl. Benjamin Schmidt. Credit: KPBS