CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – On June 08, 2015, a retrial was set to start for a Marine who was convicted in a high-profile court martial involving the 2006 killing of an Iraqi civilian.
Sergeant L. Hutchins III, a native of Plymouth, was scheduled to be tried again at Camp Pendleton in California, according to the Los Angeles Times. In 2007, Hutchins was convicted of the unpremeditated murder of a 52-year-old former Iraqi police officer in Hamdania village.
The purpose of the killing was to warn the Iraqis to stop cooperating with rebel snipers and planting roadside bombs.
In the Pendleton 8 case, six other Navy corpsman and Marines were convicted. Hutchins was the squad leader; he has already served over half of his 11-year sentence.
The appeals court has overturned Hutchins’ conviction twice already, once because interrogators had violated his rights in 2006, and because his attorney retired on the eve of the trial.
Since his appeal in mid-2013, Hutchins has been a free man. His rank of sergeant has since been restored and he was assigned to Camp Pendleton, where he’s residing with his wife and children.
Several of Hutchins’ co-defendants who are free and living as civilians believe that while the killing was brutal, it saved American lives. That’s because the attacks on U.S. troops declined in the months following the shooting. However, there are other Marines who believe that he should be retried by the Corps to prove that it still holds the ranks accountable when they use unauthorized deadly force.
Gary Solis, a retired Marine who is now an adjunct law professor at Georgetown University believes that the Marine Corps is doing what justice demands. Solis said that an innocent man was taken prisoner by Hutchins and his squad. While bound, he was shot repeatedly in the face and murdered.
Hutchins’ defense lawyer believes that the Marine Corps is pursuing this case for political purposes. He said that the political pressure to make his client an example was palpable. He hopes to have Sergeant Hutchins home with his family on Father’s Day, a free man.
Contact a military criminal defense attorney from Crisp & Associates, LLC if you are in need of representation anywhere in the U.S. or worldwide.