Marine Convicted of Murdering Iraqi Man

The Marine Corps has found a squad leader guilty of murder in one of the more infamous atrocities of the Iraq War.

Marine Sergeant Lawrence Hutchins Convicted Photo Marine Corps Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins, 22, of Plymouth, Mass., a squad leader accused of masterminding the killing of an Iraqi man in Hamdania during a frustrated hunt for an insurgent, is shown in this Dec. 7, 2006, file photo at Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base, Calif. Hutchins was convicted Thursday, Aug. 2, 2007, of conspiracy to commit murder, making a false official statement and larceny. He was acquitted of kidnapping, assault and housebreaking. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy) A Marine Corps squad leader was convicted Thursday of murdering an Iraqi man during a frustrated search for an insurgent. Sgt. Lawrence G. Hutchins III, 23, also was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder, making a false official statement and larceny. He was acquitted of kidnapping, assault and housebreaking.

Hutchins, of Plymouth, Mass., could be sentenced to life in prison without parole. He had been charged with premeditated murder but the military jury struck the premeditation element from the verdict.

[…]

Prosecutors said that during a nighttime patrol in Hamdania, Iraq, in April 2006, Hutchins’ squad hatched a plan to kidnap and kill a suspected insurgent from his house. When they couldn’t find him, they instead kidnapped a man from a neighboring house, dragged him to a hole and shot him.

This appears to be the right verdict, although I presume the acquittal on kidnapping, assualt, and housebreaking — which would seem to be obvious lesser includeds in this case — was on technical grounds.

FILED UNDER: General,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Bithead says:

    Hamdania.
    Hadditha.
    One wonders how long it’ll be before we hear that Murtha just reversed the two names, and it was all an honest misunderstanding?

  2. Dale says:

    Don’t hold your breath Bithead.

    I want to know when the enemy(ies) are going to start holding courts-martial on their members. I won’t hold my breath for it.

  3. Grewgills says:

    I want to know when the enemy(ies) are going to start holding courts-martial on their members. I won’t hold my breath for it.

    Yes, we should hold our military to the same standards that Al Qaeda holds its members to. It’s only fair. Right?

  4. Bithead says:

    GRew;

    So, are we now have to take it that you see value in having our boys fighting with one arm tied behind their back?

  5. Dale says:

    Grewgills: I was not insinuating that we should not hold ourselves to a higher standard. Quite the opposite, I believe we should and I wear the uniform and have for almost 19 years now.

    My point is that despite all of the hollering from liberals about coverups and abusing prisoners, etc. we do in fact hold ourselves to a higher standard.

  6. Ugh says:

    So, are we now have to take it that you see value in having our boys fighting with one arm tied behind their back?

    WTF are you talking about Bithead?

  7. Michael says:

    So, are we now have to take it that you see value in having our boys fighting with one arm tied behind their back?

    What part of “our boys fighting” includes dragging a man they had no reason to believe was an insurgent from his house, shooting him, then trying to make it look like he was planting a bomb as a coverup?

    If not murdering innocents is something you consider “having one arm tied behind their back”, then yes, I see value in that. If that means we can’t in in Iraq, then we shouldn’t be there.

  8. Michael says:

    My point is that despite all of the hollering from liberals about coverups and abusing prisoners, etc. we do in fact hold ourselves to a higher standard.

    Fair enough, but your point made it seem like you consider holding ourselves to that higher standard a bad thing.

  9. Anderson says:

    Now taking odds on whether the sentence is “time already served.”

  10. James Joyner says:

    Now taking odds on whether the sentence is “time already served.”

    My guess is not. Hutchins was the ringleader and doesn’t come off as sympathetic. But who knows?

  11. Andy says:

    So, are we now have to take it that you see value in having our boys fighting with one arm tied behind their back?

    Shorter Bithead:
    I want our troops to murder innocent civilians.

    Shorter Right Wing Blogosphere:
    BUT SCOTT BEAUCHAMP SAID STUFF!@!!!!

  12. Anderson says:

    Tut-tut, my dear Andy. The gentleman doesn’t *want* our troops to murder innocent civilians.

    He simply could not care less if they do so.

  13. Andy says:

    Actually, Anderson, many in the main stream of the right wing (e.g. NRO’s The Corner) have called our handling of Muslims weak and called for retaliatory carpet bombing of their cities. Hell, they’ve got a presidential candidate who’s threatening to nuke Mecca.

    Killing a few innocent civies during a patrol isn’t something they find disgraceful or even distasteful; to them it’s an appetizer.

  14. Dodd says:

    I presume the acquittal on kidnapping, assualt, and housebreaking — which would seem to be obvious lesser includeds in this case — was on technical grounds.

    You give juries too much credit. More likely they horse-traded to render a verdict they were collectively able to decide was ‘just.’ You see weird results sometimes from juries. A colleague of mine had one last year in a rape/kidnapping case that was so bizarre, not even the prosecution was prepared to recommend a sentence to match it.

  15. Peter says:

    I don’t want our boys fighting with one arm tied their back but at the same time even in the war there are moral to follow. No one need to teach what is wrong and what is right to our soldiers, because they are already thought on those things in the training. They can not blame the situation to escape from their mistakes….
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