Camp Lejeune Marine Pleads Guilty In Shooting Comrade

A Marine pleaded guilty today to negligent homicide in the shooting death last December of a comrade when a rifle that wasn't supposed to be loaded fired when it was picked up.

Lance Corporal Michael C. Fulcher entered the plea during a court-martial at Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base. He also pleaded guilty to negligent use of a firearm.

Defense lawyers began calling character witnesses in the sentencing phase after the plea was entered. Fulcher was charged in the death of 21-year-old Lance Corporal Adam Fales. Fales was killed when the gun went off as he, Fulcher and another Marine prepared for bed at Camp Fallujah in Iraq. Theother Marine is scheduled to be tried tomorrow.

Fales' mother says she supported the plea bargain and hoped the case would send a message about firearms safety.