Marines will retry sergeant accused of killing Iraqi civilian
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[January 28, 2014]
By Dan Whitcomb
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) — A U.S. Marine
sergeant who was found guilty of murder in the 2006 death of an Iraqi
civilian, only to have his conviction overturned, will face a retrial on
the same charges, a Marine spokesman said on Monday.
Sergeant Lawrence Hutchins III will be arraigned at the Camp
Pendleton Marine Base in California on Wednesday, Lieutenant Colonel
Joseph Kloppel said.
The case was one of the biggest war crimes to emerge from the Middle
East conflict, touching off a furor both in the United States and in
Hutchins was the leader of a squad of Marines that went on a mission
aimed at stopping militants' use of improvised explosive devices in
the village of Hamdania, Iraq, in the early morning hours of April
Witnesses said Hutchins and another Marine shot 52-year-old Hashim
Ibrahim Awad, a father of 11 and grandfather of four, and placed an
AK-47 and a shovel next to the corpse to suggest he had been
planting a bomb.
Earlier, Awad had been bound and gagged at another location,
according to a finding by a lower court of appeal for the military.
In 2007, a court-martial at Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base north
of San Diego sentenced Hutchins to 15 years in military prison after
finding him guilty of unpremeditated murder and other crimes. The
sentence was later reduced to 11 years.
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Hutchins served six years in prison before the U.S. Court of Appeals
for the Armed Forces overturned his conviction following lengthy
legal proceedings. The appeals court found that Hutchins gave a
statement to a U.S. Navy investigator while in custody that should
have been ruled inadmissible.
(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; editing by Cynthia Johnston, Eric Walsh
and Lisa Shumaker)
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