January 7th, 2010, 22:04
A former sergeant convicted of unpremeditated murder has asked a naval parole board to release him from prison, saying he is remorseful for the 2006 death of an Iraqi man shot by members of his infantry squad.In a letter presented Jan. 6 to the Naval Clemency and Parole Board, Pvt. Lawrence G. Hutchins III, a former sergeant currently serving 11 years in the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., compared his actions in Hamdaniya, Iraq, to those of “a terrorist.” The board will decide whether Hutchins deserves to be let out early or have his sentence reduced and then forward its recommendation to Juan M. Garcia III, assistant secretary of the Navy for manpower and reserve affairs, who will make the final decision.Prosecutors contended that Hutchins devised the plot to kill a locally known insurgent, Saleh Gowad, who Marines suspected of planting roadside bombs. They said Hutchins led his squad to the bomb planter’s house in the early hours of April 26, 2006, only to find that Gowad wasn’t there.Four members of the unit snatched another man instead and bound him with duct tape before all eight men dragged him to a nearby road and shot him dead beside a freshly-dug hole. The Marines then falsely reported that the 52-year-old man, later identified as a retired Iraqi policeman, died during a firefight after they caught him prepping the hole for a roadside bomb.For more on the story pick up a copy of next week’s Marine Corps Times.