Marine Convicted of Killing Iraqi Gets No Additional Prison Time
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Marine jury sentenced a Marine sergeant to a bad-conduct discharge but no additional prison time for killing an unarmed Iraqi civilian in 2006.
Prosecutors had asked jurors at the retrial of Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins to sentence him to a dishonorable discharge and additional prison time, Los Angeles Times reported.
Hutchins, 31, had served more than seven years of an 11-year sentence before his 2007 conviction was overturned and the case sent back for retrial.
Hutchins' wife, Reyna, burst into tears of relief at the sentencing by the six-Marine jury. The jury decided that "time served" behind bars was sufficient.
The jury took less than two hours to reach its sentencing decision. The day's session included emotional testimony by Hutchins' father, mother, wife and their 10-year-old daughter asking for leniency.
The maximum additional time behind bars would have been a little less than four years given the time he had spent at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., prison and the Miramar brig.
On Wednesday, the Marine jury — three officers and three senior enlisted personnel — found Hutchins guilty of the same charge that he was convicted of in 2007: unpremeditated murder in the shooting death of an unarmed civilian who was dragged from his home, bound and riddled with bullets. The killing occurred in Hamandiya, west of Baghdad.
Hutchins' 2007 conviction was set aside twice by an appellate court, and Wednesday's guilty verdict came after a retrial.
In a 90-minute unsworn presentation to the jury Thursday, Hutchins talked of the brutalizing effect of experiencing the war in Iraq in 2006. He said he came to believe that all Iraqis were either insurgents or insurgent sympathizers.
"I was a different man at this location, at this time, after what I had seen," he said, haltingly. "I had ice in my veins."
In 2007, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison, later reduced to 11 years.