An American navy medic revealed Friday how seven marines dragged an Iraqi civilian from his home and shot him in cold blood before covering up the brutal slaying.
In dramatic testimony at American marine corps base camp Pendleton in southern California, Melson Bacos said he had watched in horror as 52-year-old Hashim Ibrahim Awad was bound and gagged before being gunned down.
The April 26 killing in Hamdania is one of a series of savage killings by American troops in Iraq.
Bacos said that during a patrol to look for roadside bombs, squad leader Lawrence Hutchins plotted to go to what he called “a suspected insurgent’s house”. If the plan failed, the marines would “find someone else,” Bacos said.
After failing to locate their intended target, marines raided the house next door, Bacos said.
Two marines pulled Awad outside and took him to a hole that had been dug to look like one used for roadside bombs, he said.
The marines grabbed a shovel lying outside another home, then went inside and grabbed an AK-47 assault rifle, Bacos added.
He said Hutchins ordered the marines to fire AK-47 rounds into the air “to make it look like we were in a firefight with this man”.
Another soldier, Lance Corporal Robert Pennington, wiped fingerprints off the assault rifle, he said.
The marines then bound the hands and feet of Awad and gagged him before firing three shots into his head, Bacos said.
Hutchins then radioed headquarters and reported that his squad had killed a man in a firefight.
Bacos said he felt “sick to my stomach” following the killings and said he had tried to intervene.
“I tried to stop others from killing,” Bacos said.
“I wanted to be part of the team. Now I have to live with this for the rest of my life. I feel like my honor is gone.”