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Hamdania Ringleader Arraigned

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

The Marine squad leader accused of the kidnapping and murder in Hamdania earlier this year, was arraigned in Camp Pendleton today. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.

Defense attorneys for Sergeant Lawrence Hutchins reserved the right to enter a plea of not guilty or guilty until the courts martial’s pre- trial motions are heard in January. Hutchins led the squad of marines who set out to find an Iraqi insurgent in Hamdania last April. When they couldn’t find the man, the Marines allegedly kidnapped another Iraqi, murdered him and planted evidence to make it look like he was their intended target.

Four of those accused in the crime have already entered plea deals. They testified against Hutchins, who now faces seven charges in the Hamdania case, including conspiracy, assault, kidnapping and murder. He also faces charges of assault in a separate case.

Sergeant Hutchins who has been confined to the brig on Camp Pendleton married his childhood sweetheart last month. 

Two other members of his squad have pled not guilty and will go to trial. One Marine has yet to be arraigned. Alison St John, KPBS News.

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