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Jailed Marine appeals sentence in shooting death during training



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CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (AP) -- A military appeals court began hearing the case of a Marine sentenced to jail for fatally shooting a comrade during a training exercise in 2002.

A panel of six Marines began hearing evidence Tuesday about the appropriate sentence for Sgt. Cody Ottley, who told a judge four years ago that he thought he put blanks into his rifle, but had loaded real ammunition.

Ottley was among Marines who were practicing searching and seizing buildings when he entered a small room and fired four bullets, killing Pfc. Jeremy R. Purcell, of Provo, Utah, who was playing the enemy.

Ottley pleaded guilty in 2003 to negligent homicide in a deal that limited him to a year in jail, though a military judge sentenced the Marine to 18 months in jail and a bad-conduct discharge. He served 10 months of the sentence.

Sentences of a year or more are automatically appealed. In April, a military appeals court found the judge ignored evidence, such as changes in training procedures, that could have benefited Ottley's case.

Ottley could be returned to jail if the appeals court panel sentences him to a longer term than he has already served in Purcell's death. He faces a maximum sentence of three years.

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Information from: North County Times

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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