Local Marine's mother baffled by accusations her son shot Iraqi man
By Greg Jonsson


The mother of an area Marine who is one of those charged with murdering an unarmed Iraqi civilian in April said she doesn't know what to make of the accusations.

"I don't know what to believe," said Linda Thomas of Madison, mother of Cpl. Trent D. Thomas, 24. "I know my son wouldn't kill somebody for no reason at all.

"I'm just praying and trusting in God to get us through this."

Trent Thomas was among seven Marines and a Navy corpsman charged last month with murder, kidnapping, conspiracy and other charges in the death of a man in the Iraqi village of Hamdania.

The Marine Corps says the men pulled Hashim Ibrahim Awad, 52, out of his home on April 26, bound his hands and feet, and shot him. According to a charging document obtained by The Associated Press, Thomas was one of five Marines who fired at Awad.

The Marine Corps says the men placed a stolen AK-47 assault rifle and spent rifle shells near Awad's body to make him appear to be an insurgent killed while planting a roadside bomb.

Some or all of the men could face the death penalty if convicted.

Trent Thomas was born in St. Louis, where the family lived until his teen years. They moved to the Metro East and Thomas attended Venice High School, where he was active in athletics, his mother said.

"He was a good kid," she said. "He loved animals and just doing normal kid things. He wasn't a troubled child or anything."

He enlisted in St. Louis in 2002 and was in Iraq on his second tour of duty.

The men were detained in Iraq on May 12 and have been held in the brig at Camp Pendleton, Calif., since May 24. All are members of Kilo Company from the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment.

The next step for each of the accused is an Article 32 hearing, a military proceeding to determine whether there is enough evidence to send a defendant to trial. The hearing is similar to a grand jury proceeding or preliminary hearing in civilian law.

The men have hired civilian attorneys in addition to counsel provided by the military.