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US Marine Convicted of Murdering Iraqi Civilian in 2006


A U.S. court has convicted a Marine Corps squad leader of the murder of an Iraqi man last year.

The military jury in the western U.S. state of California found Sergeant Lawrence Hutchins guilty Thursday of involvement in the killing of a 52-year-old Iraqi civilian, Hashim Ibrahim Awad, in the town of Hamdania.

The jury also convicted Hutchins of conspiracy to commit murder, making a false official statement and larceny. But it cleared the 23-year-old on charges of kidnapping, assault and housebreaking.

Hutchins is one of seven Marines and a Navy medic accused of participating in the kidnapping and killing in April 2006, as part of a bungled raid against suspected insurgents.

A separate military jury Wednesday found Marine Corporal Marshall Magincalda guilty of conspiracy, larceny and housebreaking in connection with the Hamdania killing.

But that jury cleared Magincalda of more serious charges of murder, kidnapping and making a false official statement in the plot.

Four of the Marines and the medic pleaded guilty earlier this year in return for reduced sentences.

The servicemen say they were ordered by their squad leader to hunt down and kill a known insurgent in the town. When they could not find the insurgent at his home, they instead seized Awad from a nearby house and killed him.

The servicemen say they placed a gun and a shovel near Awad's body to make it appear as if he had been shot while planting a bomb.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.