An Indiana Marine corporal goes on trial today at Camp Pendleton, California, charged with unpremeditated murder in the death of an Iraqi soldier last December.
Twenty-one-year-old Delano Holmes of Indianapolis says it was self defense. And his lawyer says the court-martial is an overreaction to other embarrassing cases involving U.S. troops.
Holmes and the Iraqi were standing guard that night in Fallujah and got into a fight when the Iraqi flipped open his cell phone and lit a cigarette. They were supposed to be observing a blackout because of the threat of sniper fire.
Holmes says when the Iraqi soldier refused to put out the cigarette, he knocked it out of his hand. They fell to the ground fighting and Holmes says he pulled his knife and stabbed the Iraqi when he felt him going for his rifle.
The court-martial is expected to last about two weeks.