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For Pfc. Jodka, Iraq Tour Quickly Went Bad

One of the Marines charged in connection with the killing of a civilian in Hamdania, Iraq, is 20-year-old Pfc. John Jodka. The San Diego native has been in the military for barely a year; he is the most junior member of the squad charged in the incident.

Jodka's parents, John and Carolyn, say he hasn't told them much about what happened in Hamdania. But his attorney, Joseph Casas, says prosecutors will have a hard time making their case.

He says that even though impressionable young Marines may have been coerced into confessing to crimes, what actually happened was a justifiable killing. The Jodkas remain convinced of their son's innocence.

Carolyn Jodka wants to know just what her son's orders were, and what the rules of engagement were, on April 26. She hopes that will come out in her son's trial.

When John Jodka first left for his deployment, Carolyn Jodka says she thought about his safety, and his mental health. "He'll be faced with situations and have to make decisions that he can't possibly anticipate at this point," she recalls saying. "And that has really rang true the last month or so."

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Scott Horsley is NPR's Chief Economics Correspondent. He reports on ups and downs in the national economy as well as fault lines between booming and busting communities.