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Going back to prison, Camp Pendleton Marine turns to poetry

February 16, 2011 | 12:33 pm

When he was in prison at Ft. Leavenworth, Kan., for his role in killing an unarmed Iraqi, Marine Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins spent his time reading the poetry of Shakespeare, Byron, Robert Frost, Kipling and William Ernest Henley ("Invictus"), among others.

After eight months of freedom, Hutchins is being sent back to prison as his attorneys continue to appeal his court martial conviction.

Hutchins has been ordered to report to Camp Pendleton on Friday to be put in the brig and then transferred to Leavenworth, where he spent three years of an 11-year sentence before an appeals court  last year ordered him released during the appeal process.

In an e-mail Wednesday to friends, supporters and reporters, Hutchins turned to poetry to express his feelings: the poem "Unsubdued" by American poet (and newspaper journalist) Samuel Ellsworth Kiser (1862-1942):

I have hoped, I have planned, I have striven
To the will I have added the deed;
The best that was in me I’ve given,
I have prayed, but the gods would not heed.

I have dared and reached only disaster,
I have battled and broken my lance;
I am bruised by a pitiless master
That the weak and the timid call Chance.

I am old, I am bent, I am cheated
Of all that Youth urged me to win;
But name me not with the defeated,
For tomorrow – again, I begin.


Clemency denied, Marine sergeant ordered back to prison

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins. Credit: Robert Lachmann / Los Angeles Times