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Clemency denied, Marine sergeant ordered back to prison in killing of Iraqi man in 2006

Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins. A Marine at Camp Pendleton has been ordered back to prison -- possibly as early as Wednesday -- for the killing of an unarmed Iraqi man in 2006.

Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins was freed in April from the prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, while appeals courts considered whether he was denied a fair trial at Camp Pendleton.

Hutchins had served four years of an 11-year sentence after being convicted as the ringleader of a plot to kidnap and murder a retired Iraqi police officer in Hamandiya, west of Baghdad.

But those appeals proved unsuccessful. Hutchins' attorneys have filed another appeal, but Hutchins was ordered back to prison while that appeal is considered.

A last-minute request for clemency was rejected Tuesday, without comment, by Lt. Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, commanding general of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton.

Hutchins is set to surrender to authorities at Camp Pendleton and be sent to the brig before being transferred to Fort Leavenworth.

Since April, Hutchins has been assigned as a rifle-range instructor at Camp Pendleton. He has reconciled with his wife, and the couple is expecting their second child, according to Hutchins' attorney Babu Kaza.

At issue in the appeals is whether Hutchins' right to a fair trial was damaged when one of his trial attorneys was allowed to leave the case on the eve of the court martial.

Seven enlisted Marines and one Navy corpsman were convicted in the Hamandiya killing. As the squad leader, Hutchins received the longest sentence. All of the others are now freed; none served more than 18 months.

The plan to kill an Iraqi was developed as a warning to other Iraqis not to attack Marines with sniper shots or buried roadside bombs. In the months after the killing, attacks on Marines in the region dropped.


Marine set for parole hearing in murder of Iraqi

Hutchins dealt setback in effort to avoid return to prison

Military lawyers seek to reinstate Hutchins' conviction for Iraq killing

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins. Credit: Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (25)

"In the months after the killing, attacks on Marines in the region dropped." The Sergeant did his duty to protect his Marines. War isn't pretty. He's served enough time.

In the old days he would have been promoted. Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins should be promoted to Capt. and lead even more men into battle!
Yes, "War is hell, less we enjoy it too much" and if you don't know that kind of experience please be quite and let the real men deal with it.

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."
George Orwell

Having served in the military, under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), I know full well that this is a document of law that has to be used by the military as they see most appropriate.

When the enemy uses civilians as "protection" for their sniper fire or any other form of direct or indirect attack of our military troops, I must recall a one-on-one conversation with former Pres. Harry S. Truman. His explanation in the tough decision to drop the A-bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 was one of "although there will be a lot of collateral damage (civilians killed) this will save more lives on both sides than if we continue the war as we have been". We we fire bombing Tokyo and killing thousands of civilians in the process. I believe the same protocol and Comander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the U.S. decision-making should be followed in combat anywhere that the safety of our military and U.S. general population is involved.

Although it has been said that killing civilians who are forced to be shields for the attempts of the enemy to unfairly attack our military would make the Islamic Nation that much more angry at the U.S. in total, I do not see this as a viable explanation for holding fire and endangering our military. When the civilians understand that regardless the situation, our fighting men and women are there to win and not loose. We must maintain the attitude that "War is Hell" and our troops have been trained to win and protect their own. For anyone to say that this is the wrong way to fight and win, let him or her go out on the front lines a see how fast their thinking will change when their life is on the line. We must fight to win and there is no other way. Anything else is giving "sustanence" to the enemy and exhibiting cowerdace in the face of the enemy. Both may be reason for a Courts Martial.

Glad my kids aren't interested in going to war for the disinterested and unconcerned. This country doesn't know how to treat it's warriors anymore, not worth dying for.

What has become of an ungrateful Nation when our Kids are asked to go to war not 1 tour but 3-5 back to back tours for a Country that they love and defend it, then they are questioned about the actions taken to defend her, when your number 1 priority is to defend and protect your troops, and when you do a good job you get slapped on the face, I would much rather you said thank you, let this solider go home, he did his Job, he would do it again if asked to. He should be honored, not reprimanded, he saved life's in the long run. I also Served 18 months in the Gulf, Somalia, and then on to Bosnia, I would proudly serve if asked to, War is hell and its ugly and sometimes people die.

Rangers lead the Way!!!!!

The Marine is a hero and those who chase him are cowardly thieves. The same type of scum who serve in our elected offices who promote raising our taxes, removing our freedoms, getting jobs for their frieeeeends!
Someone send this kid a darn Medal!

All in war, all for what democracy
What a pile of crap!!! God country Corps
What happens when what you defend leaves you
Out in the breeze...

America , US Marine Corps you should be ashamed.Free that Marine!!!


Free this Marine! Im proud to know there are many more like him defending our country right now. Too bad the WEAK judge and our WEAK military laws dont feel the same! I praise this Marine!

sounds like he's a hero, he protected his men, that's his job. if I had the guts to be a soldier, I'd want to be in his squad!!!

Really sad. The best men in the country are those that sacrafice their lives for others. It is shameful and disgraceful that this Marine this real man is sentenced to jail. SEnators and presidents from Both sides have failed our military.
One of the last great institutions in this country.

This is Liberalism at it's best.

Our military is ALL TOO EAGER to go after our own for protecting themselves and our own interests while CODDLING OUR ENEMIES and giving our enemies the UPPER HAND with "convoluted" and dangerous "rules!"

Cops in LA have more LEEWAY when it comes to matters of life and death than our own warriors.


What the hell is wrong with people.

We send our young brave warriors into battle and freak out when they do their job.

God bless this young man. He is a true hero.

We are destroying ourselves from within when place our troops who defend this country from those who would kill us all in an instant. This is just what the enemy wants to see, our troops unsure of what to do on the battle field. My Drill Sgt. would tell us the following, "there are two types on the battle field, the quick and dead, which one are you?"

Things like this will kill our all volunter army. The left wants the draft back and I guess this is how they will do it. When no one will sign up because of the fear of being imprisoned for doing their job, we will have no alternative than to reinstate the draft.

A very sad time for this Marine and one can't help but wonder what the general is thinking. All the others got a year and a half in jail for doing what they were sent there to do. This Sergeant is living in hell because he was an aggressive warrior.
General Waldhauser is obviously a political hack rather than a real Marine.
Yours truly
A Sergeant too, in an early conflict where we received no thanks.

I won't comment on the case of Sgt. Hutchins, only on the series of comments preceding. Unanimously they declare that war conducted by any means, so long as it is the US that is doing the warring, is implicitly acceptable. Let me remind them that the same argument was made by many of the enemies that the US has engaged in the past--Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, North Korea come to mind. At the conclusion of those conflicts we were comforted and satisfied that we as a nation had conducted ourselves, if not perfectly, than at least more honorably than the other. One reason we could make that claim is because conspiracies to kidnap and murder unarmed civilians by our soldiers are punished when known, not honored with medals and accolades.

This is what happens when you have non-military personnel making up rules they never have to abide by. This man deserves a medal, combat is for keeps, you do what is necessary, and that is what he did. I am appalled at that General for not granting the plea for clemency. He must be up for his next star!

God bless this marine,,,look what they did to a woman, and you expect us to feel sorry for this man....I would love to have this marine stand beside me ....wake up nation, we are going down the drain and we are sitting here and watching it happen....god save our men in uniform and our country

This was not a heat of battle, civilians caught in the crossfire moment. Sgt Hutchins and his patrol took someone from his home in the middle of the night, tied him up, put him in a hole, and then shot him 10 or more times. The guy was then untied and reported as planting an IED. If you find shooting an unarmed and bound man in a hole heroic, I very seriously question whether or not you know what it is to be an American. In the most possibly optomistic viewpoint, assuming the victim had done some unknown act of war previously, it is vigilantism. It is most assuredly not an act of bravery in combat. I would not want Sgt Hutchins standing next to me on the battlefield. I simply would not be able to predict what he would do, especially if put in charge of others.

let this man go !!

Free this Marine...step up America! Call your Senators and Congressmen demand this Marine freed!

Set him Free ! He's a Hero

What is shameful is that people are willing to excuse this man for murder. He should be grateful for the short jail time he is getting. We don't live in the wild west, we live in a world where taking the life of an innocent individual needs to punished. If not then there is no such thing as law or justice. Murder is not excused by doing so in the name of a state.

What is shameful is that people are willing to excuse this man for murder. He should be grateful for the short jail time he is getting. We don't live in the wild west, we live in a world where taking the life of an innocent individual needs to punished. If not then there is no such thing as law or justice. Murder is not excused by doing so in the name of a state.


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