Marine to be retried for 3rd time in death of Iraqi civilian

Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins

Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins (credit: Robert Lachman/Los Angeles Times)

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CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — A third trial for a U.S. Marine Corps non- commissioned officer accused of killing an unarmed civilian in Iraq nine years ago is expected to begin Monday in a military court at Camp Pendleton.

Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins III of Plymouth, Massachusetts was convicted of unpremeditated murder in 2007 and sentenced to 15 years behind bars but that was later reduced to an 11-year sentence.

Hutchins’ conviction was overturned in 2010 because his lawyer was allowed to retire on the eve of trial and again two years ago because his initial confession was deemed to have been illegally obtained. Hutchins is set to be retried again today, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Authorities said Hutchins — then a squad leader of a unit conducting counter-insurgency operations — took part in a plan to kidnap and kill suspected insurgent Saleh Gowad near Hamdania but grabbed disabled 52-year-old war veteran Hashim Awad instead when Gowad’s family foiled the plan.

Seven other Marines and a Navy corpsman were also charged in the case, and none received sentenced longer than 16 months.

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