U.S. Marines will retry sergeant accused of killing Iraqi civilian

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 27, 2014 8:51 PM

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 Camp Pendleton Marine Base on Wednesday on charges of murder, conspiracy to commit larceny, making false official statements and obstruction of justice, Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Kloppel said.

Kloppel said a military judge may also set a date for Hutchins' court martial at that hearing.

Hutchins was the leader of a squad that went on a mission aimed at stopping militants' use of improvised explosive devices in Hamdania, Iraq.

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, larceny and other crimes.

But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces overturned his conviction following lengthy legal proceedings after finding 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 and Eric Walsh)