There’s no real doubt about what happened on April 26, 2006 in Hamdania, Iraq. Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins III confirmed he led a unit out who kidnapped an Iraqi, dragged him into a ditch, and staged a phony firefight, then murdered him in cold blood. Hutchins mistakenly thought he was murdering an “insurgent leader,” but it turned out to be a retired policeman.
Those are the facts as presented by Hutchins, and they’re not in dispute. Rather, the defense got the murder conviction overturned on the grounds that Hutchins was held without access to a lawyer during his initial interrogation.
That the government botched yet another murder case related to a foreign occupation isn’t in and of itself all that shocking these days, indeed Hutchins’ sentence was on the heavy side for US troops not named Bradley Manning. Here’s the kicker though: The Marine Corps confirmed that Hutchins is being sent to Camp Pendleton, and back to work.
Six years in the brig for a crime he admitted to, and it’s business as usual for Hutchins, who will check in with his new unit and await a new assignment. Where the Marines intend to deploy Hutchins next is unclear, but until the Navy decides whether or not to charge him with murder, again, he’s active duty.
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