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California Briefing / RIVERSIDE

Marine jailed for refusing to testify

June 13, 2008|From the Associated Press

A Marine charged with murder in the death of an Iraqi detainee during 2004 combat operations in Fallouja was jailed Thursday for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury.

Sgt. Ryan G. Weemer appeared in uniform before U.S. District Judge Stephen Larson and was found in contempt of court. Weemer's attorney, Christopher Johnson, said his client decided not to testify for fear of self-incrimination. Weemer, of Hindsboro, Ill., can be held for up to 18 months unless he decides to testify.

Grand jury proceedings are secret, but it is known through military justice proceedings involving alleged detainee killings in Fallouja that a grand jury is investigating Weemer's former squad mate Jose Nazario, 27, of Riverside. Federal prosecutors have charged Nazario, who is no longer in the Marine Corps, with voluntary manslaughter in the killing of two Iraqi captives in Fallouja. Nazario has pleaded not guilty.

Weemer, who also is charged with dereliction of duty, and another enlisted Marine, Sgt. Jermaine A. Nelson, are part of an ongoing Fallouja prosecution at Camp Pendleton.

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