Former Camp Pendleton Marine freed from brig after murder conviction overturned

SAN DIEGO – A former Camp Pendleton Marine whose murder conviction stemming from the killing of unarmed Iraqi man in 2006 was overturned last month was freed from the Miramar brig today after serving more than half of his 11-year sentence.

Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins III was convicted in 2007 after being accused of being the mastermind of a plan to kidnap and kill a suspected insurgent, but grabbed another man instead when the suspected insurgent’s family foiled the plot.

Hutchins, of Plymouth, Mass., was a squad leader of a unit conducting counter-insurgency operations.

He will now return to Camp Pendleton for a new assignment, according to published reports, which cited Marine Corps Lt. Col. Joseph Kloppel.

On June 26, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces overturned Hutchins’ conviction for unpremeditated murder on the grounds his Fifth Amendment rights were violated.

According to court documents, Hutchins was held in solitary confinement for seven days and denied the ability to communicate with a lawyer, after asking for one during an interrogation. His belongings were searched, and he later waived his rights and provided a confession, which the court contended was illegally obtained.

The court said a military judge erred when admitting the statement in a previous hearing.

On Thursday, the Court of Appeals denied prosecutors’ request to reconsider its decision, paving the way for Hutchins release from custody.

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

32 Responses to "Former Camp Pendleton Marine freed from brig after murder conviction overturned"

  1. Lee   July 20, 2013 at 9:09 am

    So, what about the rights of the Iraqi gentleman and all Iraqis?

    Just wonderin’.

    Reply
  2. Herbert   July 20, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    We train our young men to kill and then when they do we say they did it wrong. In World War Two we didn’t do Monday morning quarterbacking.

    Reply
  3. @lee   July 20, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    What about them?

    Reply
  4. Lee   July 20, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    @ @Lee #3

    Do you believe that the killed Iraqi gentleman had a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Do you?

    Reply
  5. @Lee   July 20, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    No Lee, he didn’t. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is an American ideal. In Iraq, as in much of the middle east, life means absolutely nothing, especially if you are woman or a child, a female child. What happened was terrible, but that is war. He got out on a technicality. That is another perk of being an American.

    Reply
  6. Reality Checker   July 21, 2013 at 12:21 am

    Ya’ll listen up, Gather ’round. Herbert had it close to right in his comment number 2. But, Another, probably more famous person we’ve all heard of, and respected, said the following to his troops in a speech about war with Germany. These are only excerpts from that speech, but can you guess from whom? (Keep the situation in the article in the back of your mind and compare the difference from then to now.)

    Quote” A man has to be alert all the time if he expects to keep on breathing. If not, some German son-of-a-….. will sneak up behind him and beat him to death with a sock full of s..t. There are four hundred neatly marked graves in Sicily, all because one man went to sleep on the job

    Reply
  7. Lee   July 21, 2013 at 10:03 am

    @ @Lee #5

    Cool, thank you.

    So what you are saying is that the killed Iraqi gentleman is NOT a human being? Is that what you are saying? And if so, are YOU the one who decides that?

    Reply
  8. Sad   July 21, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    This world is a sad place. Human rights anyone?

    Reply
  9. grunt   July 21, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    @ lee and everyone: The Iraqi was NOT on the battlefield; no one knows even if he had been engaged in actions against the Americans. Had he been, or had he been killed during a fire fight –too bad, it sucked to be an Iraqi. HOWEVER the Sgt was charged with kidnapping and killing – not capturing -kidnapping. IF this is what happened the Sgt should be in jail. However, the Sgt’s rights were abused – so he walked – just like 100’s do in this country every week, the difference was his rights were extremely abused. This is not about the dead Iraqi it is about the rights granted us by the Constitution. To continue to confine the SGT would be a travesty against the laws and rights of this land.

    Reply
  10. @Lee   July 21, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    No. That isn’t what I said, and if you had any reading comprehension skills (which we all can clearly tell you do not) you would have understood exactly what I did say.

    Reply
  11. Mom of lots   July 21, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    Wow. You people who say life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (or even imply this) is only for Americans scare me. ALL human beings have this right given to us by our Creator, wether it is honored by the people’s government or not. Every human life has equal value. You are not superior in any way because you are an "American" any more or less than than someone who is wealthy or healthy is superior to someone who is poor or sick. This kind of thinking makes my stomach twist. It is such a travesty.

    Reply
  12. grunt   July 22, 2013 at 7:04 am

    @Mom of lots; our constitution is what names those GOD given rights; since GOD gives them, them of course you are right – everyone should have them. What happens though is too many governments deny them. I disagree thought, and say that Americans are superior – as a group – not as individuals. Our way of life, what we believe in, our willingness to help others is what makes

    Reply
  13. FR86   July 22, 2013 at 9:25 am

    I believe that it was also General Patton that said "When you are at war, you kill people".

    Despite all of the international conventions and treaties of war it comes down to that. Therefore when a country or government decides that war is the only option putting "rules of engagement" on men and women in a combat situation and then monday morning quarterbacking them is asinine.

    Reply
  14. Pink   July 22, 2013 at 9:49 am

    @Mom of Lots: "Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness" is a God given right listed in OUR Constitution. I believe that is what @Lee is trying to say. It is most certainly NOT in the Iraqi declaration of independence because, clearly, they do not have one!! Was that Iraqi man’s life worth just as much to God as an American life? Of course it is, but it is not an Iraqi ideal. Life is meaningless in much of the Middle East. What happened is terrible, but it is war (which is also terrible) the Marine got out of prison on a technicality. Another American ideal. In many countries he would have been beheaded after a Kangeroo Court had been convened.

    Reply
  15. Pink   July 22, 2013 at 11:02 am

    I misspoke. I meant to say it is in our Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution. My mouth got ahead of my brain (not for the first time) …..(-:

    Reply
  16. Lee   July 22, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    PS. Folks, comments #5 & 14 say it all, don’t they?

    I can now safely say that I have met God; in fact TWO Gods: their names are @Lee and Pink.

    Reply
  17. Pink   July 22, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    I swear Lee, dealing with you is like dealing with a 2 year old. Only worse. I understand that you have absolutely no concept of History, especially American History, so I will attempt to speak slowly, lest you lose the thread. The "term" Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, the term you used, is found in OUR Declaration of Independence. That is what I was attempting to point out to you. Other countries don’t have that concept. They should, but they don’t. Nowhere, and I mean NOWHERE, did I say that the Iraqi gentleman deserved to die. As a matter of fact, I said he didn’t. Sometimes in war, as in other scenarios as well, innocent people die. I also pointed out that the accused Marine got out of prison on a technicality. I don’t know enough about the case to make a comment or the right or wrong of this particular incident. Thank goodness that we actually live in a county where individual rights are championed. You Lee, have the right to make any comments you like, no matter how silly or vile they may be, but you do not have the right to misquote people and get away with it.

    Reply
  18. Mom of lots   July 22, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    I did not say that the Iraquis have life liberty and the pursuit of happiness honored by their government, but that does not lessen the value of this man’s life that was lost. What we are doing over there is not "war", it’s an invasion. Google "Iraq Veteran’s Against the
    War" and see countless men who will tell you what is really going on. My brother in law was over there as well….he bound up innocent civilians all the time because that was what he was told to do.,then he’d come back hours later and unbend them. I am sick of Americans having this superiority complex to the point of turning their heads to atrocities going on to people of other cultures by OUR country. Our country was founded beautifully, but it doesn’t take a genius to see it ain’t run the way the Founders intended.

    Reply
  19. a   July 23, 2013 at 5:52 am

    Strange that you people will argue back and forth about US citizenship and constitutional rights when Obama had ruled years ago that even US citizens don’t have any rights to life. Don’t you people read the news? Google "us citizen drone killing"

    Reply
  20. a   July 23, 2013 at 6:13 am

    I forgot to comment on the "It was in a war zone" mentality here. Guess what folks, this policy has "no geographical limitations". Please…read page 3 of the DOJ "white paper" that supposedly justifies and makes legal the Obama policy that can only be described as summary execution of American citizens, possibly even here on American soil. On page three of the white paper, the DOJ appears to have gone out of its way emphasize and highlight the "no geographical limitations" jargon.
    Pay attention people, they are not only talking about war zones, or terrorists hotbeds, they are also talking about us, you and me and our families right here were we live.

    Reply
  21. grunt   July 24, 2013 at 6:36 am

    @ mom of lots – " turning their heads to atrocities " – Mom, yes there are a few atrocities going on – and the chain of command does not turn its head; tell me another country that punishes its people for even the minor things wrong that the US Military does. I also was there – binding innoncent people is a way of – like the cops say here"I am handcuffing you for BOTH our protection".

    Reply
  22. Lee   July 25, 2013 at 11:13 am

    @ Grunt # 21

    " . . . binding innoncent people is a way of – like the cops say here "I am handcuffing you for BOTH our protection"."

    No comment.

    Reply
  23. Check it out   July 25, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    @Lee #22. Good.

    Reply
  24. grunt   July 28, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    Lee, what I mean is you can not tell the innocent from the killers – hence, like a cop will handcuff people, until you figure out who is who, you restrict their ability to hurt or KILL, you.

    Reply
  25. Lee   July 29, 2013 at 6:32 am

    Grunt, right! So let’s handcuff EVERYBODY!

    Yeap, makes sense to me.

    PS. Can you say . . . paranoia?

    PPS. Grunt, so can the police handcuff . . . you? Heck, you don’t mind, do you?

    Reply
  26. grunt   July 29, 2013 at 7:58 am

    Lee- are you interested in a reasonable discussion or just trying to seem dumb? In Iraq, let say the mission is for the Marines to enter an area to capture a known terrorist – they encounter several men, all of which own and can carry AK-47. They secure all of them, find the bad one, then release the rest. They do not know if the others are good, bad, or neutral – to turn your back on an armed man could result in your death. In the states, often when the police encounter someone that they are unsure of and the potential for violence from that person seems high, the police will handcuff that person, as they say “for your protection and mine”. If the person is innocent, he is released, if not goes to jail. Guess you need to visit the real world.

    Reply
  27. Pink   July 29, 2013 at 8:51 am

    @Grunt: Lee is just "trying" he has made the cut.

    Reply
  28. Queen   July 29, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    @ Grunt, don’t waste your time…..Lee is never going to get it.

    Reply
  29. Pink   July 29, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    I meant to say "isn’t" just trying to be dumb (not is) he has made the cut speaks for itself….

    Reply
  30. DR DR   July 30, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    You guys are relentless!!

    Lee-it’s really ok, it makes reading the opinions and contributions of all, quite entertaining and informative. I have learned a lot!!!

    Reply
  31. Lee   July 30, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    As have I, my dear Dr., as have I.

    Reply
  32. LMAO   July 30, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    But, dear Lee, does that mean that you now understand how the voting process actually works? Because we were all beginning to wonder…. and why am I afraid you don’t….

    Reply

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