Marshall Lee Magincalda was born 20 May 1983 in Manteca. He grew up in California before joining the Marines and was sent to Iraq as part of the American invasion and overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
The events that led to the conviction of Magincalda occurred in April 2006 in the village of Hamdaniyah. Magincalda was a member of 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment in Iraq in the region of Abu Ghraib. He was part of a group of eight soldiers, seven Marines and a caregiver of the U.S. Army (Corporal Trent Thomas, Vice-Corporal Robert B. Pennington, the caregiver third class Melson J. Bacos Marine Sergeant Lawrence G. Hutchins III, vice Corporal Jerry E. Shumate Jr., Private First Class John J. Jodka and Vice-Corporal Tyler A. Jackson), who were accused of murder, kidnapping, burglary, robbery, obstruction of justice and conspiracy in connection with the death of Hashim Ibrahim Awad al-Zobaie. This group of eight soldiers, under the command of Sergeant Lawrence Hutchins III, conducted an operation whose aim was to kill Saleh Gowad, a suspected insurgent, in the night of 25 April 2006 to 26 April 2006. Gowad had been arrested repeatedly by the Marines and handed over to Iraqi authorities, but was released each time, thus exasperating the Marines. During the operation in the village of Hamdaniyah, the Marines were unable to find Gowad after searching homes and therefore deliberately decided to take another man, Hashim Ibrahim Awad, at around 02.00 hours. He was first tied up and the AK-47 he owned (every Iraqi man has the right to own a gun for personal defence) taken before taking him outside the village. About 30 minutes after the abduction, the villagers of Hamdaniyah heard gunshots nearby. It has been found that it was the marines shooting at Awad. To conceal the murder, the Marines put the AK-47 belonging to the victim and a shovel next to him, probably to make others believe it was an insurgent placing a bomb along the route and thus to justify the death of the latter. The scheme was quickly revealed by military experts investigating this murder; shocking many politicians in the United States and Iraq. These events are most often described as “the Hamdaniyah incident.”
Hashim Ibrahim Awad, aged 52, was a police officer with disabilities following his involvement in the war against Iran in the 1980s. According to the Awad family, the U.S. military had offered him a position as informant , which he refused.
The U.S. Marines were first detained at Camp Fallujah in Iraq and later at Camp Pendleton in San Diego County, California. On 3 August 2007, Magincalda was sentenced to 448 days in jail and demoted to the rank of Private Second Class by the court martial of Marine Camp Pendleton.