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Last Updated: Friday, 3 August 2007, 20:18 GMT 21:18 UK
Marine sentenced over Iraq murder
Sgt Lawrence Hutchins
Sgt Hutchins led the unit that abducted and killed the civilian
A US marine has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for the murder of an Iraqi civilian during a failed search for an insurgent by the unit he led.

Sgt Lawrence Hutchins was also dishonourably discharged and demoted to private by a court martial jury.

The sentence came a day after he was found guilty of unpremeditated murder and conspiracy to murder.

Hashim Ibrahim Awad, 52, was shot dead during a raid in Hamdaniya, near Baghdad, last year.

Prosecutors said the unit, led by Sgt Hutchins, had abducted Mr Awad from his house when it could not find a suspected insurgent who lived next door.

HAMDANIYA DEFENDANTS
Sgt Lawrence G Hutchins: Guilty of murder, conspiracy, making a false statement, theft; 15 years in prison
L Cpl Robert Pennington: Guilty of conspiracy to murder, kidnapping; eight years in prison, demoted
L Cpl Tyler Jackson: Guilty of conspiracy to murder, kidnapping, making a false statement, housebreaking; 21 months in prison, demoted
Cpl Marshall Magincalda: Guilty of conspiracy to murder, theft, housebreaking; 448 days in prison, demoted
Petty Officer Melson Bacos: Guilty of conspiracy to murder, kidnapping, making a false statement; One year in prison, demoted
Cpl Trent Thomas: Guilty of conspiracy to murder, kidnapping; demoted, dishonourably discharged
L Cpl Jerry Shumate: Guilty of aggravated assault and conspiracy to obstruct justice; 21 months in prison, demoted
Pte John Jodka: Guilty of aggravated assault and conspiracy to obstruct justice; 18 months in prison, demoted

The Iraqi civilian was then taken to a ditch and shot in the head at least 10 times. The unit later placed a rifle and shovel by his body to make it seem as if he had been an insurgent planting a roadside bomb.

Another member of the unit, Cpl Marshall Magincalda, was convicted of conspiracy to murder by the court martial at Camp Pendleton, California.

He was freed after being sentenced to the 448 days he had already served in custody, and demoted to private.

Cpl Magincalda was also convicted of theft and burglary, but acquitted of premeditated murder and kidnapping.

Another member of the unit, Cpl Trent Thomas, was acquitted of murder last month, but convicted of conspiracy to murder and kidnapping.

He escaped a prison sentence but was reduced in rank and dishonourably discharged.

Five of the eight soldiers originally implicated in the murder entered plea bargain deals with prosecutors for their testimony and have already been sentenced to between one and eight years in prison.

The case is one of several in which US troops have been accused of killing Iraqi civilians.




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