Navy medic who helped kill Iraqi in Hamdania set for release from prison next month

Tuesday, February 6th 2007, 9:42 pm
By: News On 6

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (AP) _ A Navy corpsman who was sentenced to a year in military prison for his role in the killing of an Iraqi man will be released from the brig two months early, his attorney said Tuesday.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Melson J. Bacos, 21, will be released between March 7 and March 12, said attorney Jeremiah Sullivan III. The sentence was reduced for good behavior.

Bacos was the Navy medic assigned to a squad of Marines who were accused of kidnapping and murdering Hashim Ibrahim Awad on April 26, 2006, in the town of Hamdania.

He was the first of the squad to reach a deal with prosecutors, admitting to kidnapping and conspiracy. He agreed to testify during upcoming proceedings about what he saw. Murder and other charges against him were dropped.

The squad has been in the brig since May last year; Bacos was sentenced in October.

Five of the squad members have made deals with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to reduced charges. Four were sentenced to prison terms of less than two years.

The fifth, Cpl. Trent D. Thomas, will be sentenced this week. Sullivan said Bacos will testify at Thomas' sentencing hearing Wednesday.

The troops were accused of hatching a plan to kidnap and kill an insurgent. Prosecutors said that when they couldn't find him, they instead snatched Awad from his home and fatally shot him.