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Imprisoned Marine reads poetry, wishes he could go back to Iraq

August 30, 2009 |  7:10 pm

Hutch Marine Pvt. Lawrence Hutchins, serving an 11-year prison sentence for killing an unarmed Iraqi man, is spending his time reading poetry, particularly that of Romantic poet Lord Byron, according to an exclusive story in the North (San Diego) County Times.

Hutchins is drawn to Byron's poem "Don Juan," that has as one of its themes the elusive quest for military heroism.

North County Times military reporter Mark Walker interviewed Hutchins at Camp Pendleton after a court hearing Friday. Hutchins was brought under guard to the base from the military prison at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, for an issue involving his appeal.

Hutchins, now 25, was a sergeant when he and seven other troops dragged a man from his home in Hamandiya in 2006 and executed him. The Marines wanted the killing to serve as a warning to insurgents to stop planting roadside bombs.

As the squad leader, Hutchins was considered the most culpable. He was reduced in rank and sentenced in 2007 to 15 years, later reduced to 11.

"I have no issue with the Marine Corps, and I don't harbor any ill feelings," Hutchins told Walker. "I love the Marine Corps. If I could put the uniform back on today and go back to Iraq, I would do it in a heartbeat."

On Sept. 22, Hutchins is set to appear before the parole board. He is the only member of the so-called Pendleton 8 to still be serving time for the killing.

-- Tony Perry 

Photo: Sgt. (now Pvt.) Lawrence Hutchins. Credit: Los Angeles Times