Friday, June 09, 2006
Father worries about son in brig
Jodka, 20, detained for suspected role in Iraqi civilian's death

With a copy of his son's dog tags around his neck, John Jodka sat in his living room talking about how proud he is of his son, who is facing possible charges in connection with the death of a 52-year old civilian in the Iraqi town of Hamandiya.

"Knowing my son as the ultimate marine, I choose to defend him" says Jodka. His son, also named John Jodka, is a 20-year old private first class with the Marine Corps, who was on his first tour in Iraq when he and 7 other servicemen were brought back to the brig at Camp Pendleton.

He says his son and the seven others are being held in solitary confinement, which the elder Jodka thinks is inappropriate. In an interview that will air tonight on "The Situation Room," Jodka tells me his son is "being treated like a convicted murderer. He's not even being treated like a potential murderer -- they are often out on bail, not in solitary confinement."

In a statement, the Marine Corps says the men are subject to "the maximum level of restraint" because of the evidence uncovered in the initial investigation. That includes being in handcuffs attached to a leather belt and leg cuffs while being escorted out of their cell.

Jodka says he's also upset with what he calls a lack of support from the Marine Corps.

"I feel that the leadership of the battalion, the division and the Marine Corps has turned their backs on these boys".

Jodka talked about how excited his son was to join the Marines, serving in Iraq with the 3rd Battalion 5th Marine regiment.

But a month after celebrating his 20th birthday in Iraq, the younger Jodka placed a collect call to his father from the brig at Camp Pendleton, where he faced possible charges that may include murder. "I'm terribly worried. I think about this constantly," the elder Jodka says.

The Marine Corps says it ensures all service members in pre-trial confinement are afforded all their rights.
Posted By Ted Rowlands, CNN: 6/09/2006 04:06:00 PM ET | Permalink
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