WASHINGTON — Marine Sgt. John Weirick, a former guard at the U.S. consulate in Leningrad suspected of espionage, will not be court-martialed--but may face civilian prosecution, it was announced today.
The Marine Corps announcement said Weirick would be released from a brig at Camp Pendleton, Calif., because a two-year statute of limitation for a court-martial under the Uniform Code of Military Conduct had expired. However, Weirick's case was referred to the Justice Department for possible prosecution under federal law, which does not contain the military statute of limitation.
Weirick, 24, of Eureka, Calif., has been held since April 7 in the brig for alleged offenses in 1982. A Marine spokesman said Weirick would be released today or Thursday.
The announcement said Weirick had been held in custody until the Marine Corps determined whether it could charge him with any alleged acts of espionage that occurred within the two-year statute of limitation period. Once prosecutors determined they could not legally press charges under military law, they decided to release Weirick.