Marine Returns to Brig in Iraq Murder Case

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    FILE - -In this Thursday Dec.7, 2006 file photo, Marine Corps Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins, 22, of Plymouth, Mass., left, leaves his arraignment hearing with his wife Reyna Hutchins at Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base, Calif. Defense lawyer Babu Kaza said Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011 that the Marine Corps told his team that Hutchins would be returning to the brig to serve out the remaining five years of his sentence after a military high court reinstated his Iraq murder conviction. Hutchins, along with six other Marines and a Navy corpsman were charged with kidnapping and killing an Iraqi man last April in the town of Hamdania, Iraq. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy,File)

    A Camp Pendleton-based Marine has returned to the brig to serve time for an Iraq murder conviction.

    Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins III is serving out the remaining five years of his sentence after the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces overturned a ruling by a lower court that threw out his conviction last spring.

    Hutchins said he was prepared to return to prison, "Because I am a man made of what I believe to be both Honor and Integrity."

    Lt. Col. Joseph Kloppel confirmed Friday that Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins III is back in the brig.

    "I am writing this email to those of you who give a damn," Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins III begins in an email sent to family, friends and supporters Wednesday night. "I never thought that this day would come, but in the end it did.”

    Hutchins led a squad in Hamdania and was convicted of conspiring to kill an Iraqi man.

    A Navy Corpsman under Hutchins’ command testified the sergeant was one of the actual triggermen who fired three gunshots into the Iraqi man's head.

    Prosecutors argued Hutchins planted an AK-47 to make it appear the man was an insurgent.

    His 2007 conviction was overturned in April 2010. A military appeals court found the trial to be unfair because a lead defense lawyer quit shortly before it began.

    The Navy appealed the ruling and prosecutors wanted to keep Hutchins in confinement during that process.

    Then, on Feb.15, the higher court ruled the error was not grave enough to overturn his conviction. It denied an appeal by Kaza to reconsider its ruling.

    Despite the result of his appeal, Hutchins asked his supporters not to speak poorly about the Corps.

    "Don't let the actions of a few upset the reputation you Gentlemen molded as the Brotherhood of 'men hemmed in with the spears,'" he wrote.

    The young father said he was grateful for the few months he got to spend with his 6-year old daughter and his high school sweetheart, his wife Reyna who is pregnant with their second child.

    "Knowing that there are people out there who still believe Semper Fidelis is more than just Always Faithful, people that believe Death before Dishonor is more than just a flashy tattoo...You people, you brave Americans were my inspiration, and at times my salvation," Hutchins wrote.