A friend of the Colorado Marine who disappeared last month in what authorities have deemed a hoax says Lance Corporal Lance Hering was afraid of the other Marines in his unit.
Steve Powers -- accused of helping Hering fabricate a story when the Marine fled his Boulder home -- tells the Boulder Daily Camera that Hering thought other members of his unit would kill him if he returned to duty.
The 21-year-old Marine is supposed to return to a Camp Pendleton, California Marine Corps unit where eight members are facing charges, accused of killing an Iraqi civilian.
Powers says Hering was terrified that if he ever went back to Camp Pendleton, the soldiers would kill him.
The 21-year-old Hering is assigned to the Kilo Company, Third Battalion, Fifth Marine Regiment.
Two members of that unit pleaded innocent Wednesday in the April 2005 death of 52-year-old Hashim Ibrahim Awad in Iraq.
Five others and a Navy corpsman assigned to the unit also face charges.