updated 11/13/2006 6:51:31 PM ET 2006-11-13T23:51:31

Another Marine charged with kidnapping and murdering an unarmed Iraqi civilian in the town of Hamdania has agreed to plead guilty to lesser charges, his attorney said Monday. That means four of the eight U.S. troops charged have now struck plea bargains.

Steve Immel, attorney for Lance Cpl. Jerry E. Shumate Jr., said his client would plead guilty to charges of aggravated assault and conspiracy to obstruct justice. He said the original charges, including murder and kidnapping, would be dismissed.

Shumate, 21, of Matlock, Wash., is the third Marine to make a deal in the case. A Navy medic on patrol with the squad has also pleaded guilty to lesser charges.

According to court testimony, the troops planned to kidnap and kill a known insurgent and, when they couldn’t get to him, some members of the squad went into a neighboring house and kidnapped Hashim Ibrahim Awad, 52.

Prosecutors say squad members tied Awad up, put him in a hole and shot him, then placed an AK-47 in his hands and a shovel in the hole to make it appear he was an insurgent planting explosives.

One squad member, Lance Cpl. Tyler A. Jackson, said he thought the man was a known insurgent, learning only later that it was Awad. However, Navy corpsman Petty Officer 3rd Class Melson J. Bacos testified that he knew the man was not the suspected insurgent.

Immel said his client would probably be in court next Monday to plead guilty.

“He’s relieved to be putting this behind him,” Immel said. “He is a young man who is a danger to no one.”

Marine spokesman Maj. Jeff Nyhart declined to comment.

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