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Jun 14, 2010 9:56 PM by Chris Welty

Calif. Marine Released in Iraqi War Crimes Case

SAN DIEGO (AP) - A Camp Pendleton Marine whose murder conviction
was recently overturned was released Monday after serving four
years in prison for a major Iraqi war crimes case, his lawyer said.
An emotional Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins III vowed to be the best
Marine he could be while he waits for the U.S. Court of Appeals for
the Armed Forces to review his case, defense lawyer Babu Kaza told
The Associated Press after leaving the closed hearing at Camp
Pendleton.
"He's packing his things right now," Kaza said. "He told me
there are no words to describe what he is feeling after four years.
"He's looking forward to calling his family not from jail for
the first time in a long time."
Prosecutors say Hutchins led a squad of seven troops who killed
a 52-year-old man in the Iraqi village of Hamdania in 2006, and
then planted a shovel and AK-47 to make it appear that he was an
insurgent.
A military court in Washington in April ruled Hutchins was not
given a fair trial because his lead defense lawyer left the case
shortly before his 2007 trial. The Navy is appealing and has sent
the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, which
can either affirm or overturn the Washington court's ruling.
Hutchins says he was not with his squad at the time.
The overturning of the conviction and his subsequent release is
a major blow to the government's efforts to prosecute Iraqi war
crimes.

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