Marine charged in Iraqi war crime case freed
SAN DIEGO — The Marine Corps released a sergeant Friday whose murder conviction was overturned in a major blow to the military's prosecution of Iraq war crimes.
Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins III of Plymouth, Mass., walked out of the brig at the Marine Corps Miramar Air Station in San Diego after having served more than half of his 11-year sentence.
Once his release paperwork was processed, Hutchins was to be transported by Marine Corps officials to Camp Pendleton, where he would check in to his new unit at the base's headquarters, said Lt. Col. Joseph Kloppel, a Marine Corps spokesman.
Hutchins led an eight-man squad accused of kidnapping an Iraqi man from his home in April 2006, marching him to a ditch and shooting him to death in the village of Hamdania.
Hutchins has said he thought the man — a retired policeman — was an insurgent leader.
None of the other seven squad members served more than 18 months.
The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces overturned Hutchins' conviction on June 26, supporting his claims that his rights were violated when he was held in solitary confinement without access to a lawyer for seven days during his 2006 interrogation in Iraq.
The move was the latest in a series of twists for Hutchins, whose case was overturned once by a lower court three years ago only to be reinstated in 2011 by the same court that agreed with his most recent petition.
Prosecutors asked the court to reconsider its decision to toss out the conviction, saying Hutchins waived his right to counsel at the time and willfully told his side of the story without coercion.
The court on Thursday denied that request and issued a mandate that he be released.
The case, however, is not closed.
The Navy can order the case be retried or prosecutors can appeal to the Supreme Court.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pollard, spy for Israel, to be set free
- GOP says there’s no deal with Clinton on Benghazi testimony
- Cruz chided over remarks in prelude to Ex-Im Bank vote
- Republicans seek firing of IRS chief in feud over missing emails
- Boy Scouts of America votes to end controversial ban on openly gay leaders
- Nuke arms program gets 4-star leadership
- Congress embraces highway bill
- Feds probe timing of ticket cost at airlines days after Amtrak crash in Philadelphia
- Fiat Chrysler to buy back more than 500K Ram pickups
- Police try to see if man killed by escort was linked to crimes against women
- House, Senate clash over highway funds before Friday deadline