Marine charged with Oahu murder
Updated On: Sep 24 2013 06:03:31 AM HST
A U.S. Marine has been charged with murder in the death of Ivanice Harris, who disappeared in May. Her nude body was then discovered just days later in West Oahu.
On Wednesday, Marines will hold an Article 32 hearing, which is similar to a civilian grand jury investigation.
Not only will the defendant Master Sergeant Nathaniel Cosby attend, Harris' mother and father will also be there.
After the disappearance and death of Harris, her family has been waiting months for the case to move forward.
"We just want justice. Whoever did this, we want that person to be held accountable for their crime," said Harris family spokesperson Andre Miller.
Cosby has been waiting in the brig at Pearl Harbor, after being arrested in June. All will be in the same courtroom for the military hearing.
"Ivanice's mother and father are planning on being out there on Tuesday to be there for the hearing on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday," said Miller.
Unlike civilian cases, the military hearing could also turn into a mini-trial.
"The interesting thing about an Article 32 hearing is the defense can present evidence and question witnesses. You can get a sneak peak at what the defense is going to do," said attorney Timothy Bilecki, who specializes in military cases.
Some may question why this murder case was taken over by the military instead of city prosecutors, but Bilecki believes there is a simple reason. "It is substantially easier to get a conviction in military courts than in state courts. That may be why it is being handled by the Uniform Code of Military Justice instead of the state."
Even the Harris family feels confident about the proceedings.
"At first I was a little skeptical with the Marines taking this over. Maybe they would try to sweep it under the rug to protect one of their own, but it has been going well," said Miller.
If enough evidence is presented at the Article 32 hearing for a court-martial, Cosby's commanding general would select a panel of senior officers instead of a civilian jury of his peers. Those panel members would only need to reach a 2/3 majority to convict Cosby of the charges. Those charges include unpremeditated murder, voluntary manslaughter, murder while engaging in an inherently dangerous act, patronizing a prostitute and obstruction of justice.
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