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Military appeals court overturns murder conviction for Camp Pendleton Marine

CAMP PENDLETON - A military appeals court today overturned the murder conviction of a Camp Pendleton Marine in the 2006 killing of an Iraqi man near Hamdania.

Lawrence Hutchins, 26, will remain in prison until the Marine Corps decides whether to appeal, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The Washington, D.C.- based Navy-Marine Court of Criminal Appeals found that the then-sergeant was denied a fair trial because one of his lead attorneys was allowed to get off the case just before the court-martial, according to published reports.

Prosecutors said Hutchins masterminded a plan to kidnap and kill suspected insurgent Saleh Gowad, but grabbed Hashim Awad instead when Gowad's family foiled the plot.

Hutchins was convicted in 2007 of unpremeditated murder and other charges and sentenced to 11 years in prison.

Seven Marines and one Navy corpsman were initially charged in the case. None of their sentences were higher than 16 months.


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