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US marine jailed for Iraqi murder
Soldier sentenced to 15 years and dishonourably discharged.
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2007 15:12 GMT
Magincalda was sentenced to time served and had his rank reduced by a military jury on Friday [AFP]
A military jury in Camp Pendleton, California, has sentenced a US marine to 15 years in prison for killing of an innocent Iraqi civilian during the failed search for fighter.
 
Sergeant Lawrence G Hutchins III became the only member of an eight-member squad to be convicted of murder over the killing in the Iraqi town of Hamdania in April 2006.
Sentenced on Friday, Hutchins was also dishonourably discharged, reduced in rank to private and verbally reprimanded.
 
Hutchins had been charged with premeditated murder but premeditation was stricken from the verdict.
That meant he no longer faced a mandatory life sentence but has still received the longest sentence of all the men accused in the case.
 
Plot
 

"[Hutchins'] failure of leadership and his failure to set an example reflected in the panel's much more severe sentence"

Tom Umberg, retired army colonel and former military prosecutor

Testimony from several of his comrades pointed to him as the mastermind of the plot to kidnap and kill a suspected Iraqi fighter.
 
Tom Umberg, a retired army colonel and former military prosecutor, said the jury's sentence was characteristic of the chain-of-command mentality found in the military.
 
"That reflects the military attitude that the person in charge is responsible for his actions and those in his command.
 
"His failure of leadership and his failure to set an example reflected in the panel's much more severe sentence," he said.
 
Hutchins was also convicted of conspiracy to commit murder, making a false official statement and larceny.
 
He was acquitted of kidnapping, assault and housebreaking.
 
Shot in a hole
 
Testimony showed the victim was kidnapped and killed when the squad could not find the suspected fighter.
 
Prosecutors said the Iraqi civilian was pulled from his home in April 2006 and shot in a hole.
 
An AK-47 assault rifle and shovel were placed nearby to make him look like he was planting a bomb.
 
The victim was initially identified as Hashim Ibrahim Awad, 52. The name, however, was dropped from charge sheets.
 
The verdict against Hutchins came just hours after another member of the squad was sentenced to time served and reduced in rank for conspiring to murder the victim.
 
Corporal Marshall Magincalda, who had already served 448 days in custody, was also reduced in rank to private by a separate jury.
 
Magincalda, 24, was acquitted of murder and cleared of making a false official statement but found guilty of larceny and housebreaking.
 
Four lower-ranking marines and a navy corpsman cut deals with prosecutors in exchange for their testimony and received sentences ranging from one to eight years in prison.
 
A jury last month acquitted another corporal of murder but convicted him of conspiracy to commit murder and kidnapping.
Source:
Agencies
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