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US Court Gives 15 Year Sentence to US Marine Who Killed Iraqi Civilian

A U.S. military jury has sentenced a Marine Corps squad leader to 15 years in prison for killing an Iraqi man last year.

Sergeant Lawrence Hutchins also will be dishonorably discharged from the military.

A military jury in California found Hutchins guilty Thursday of taking part in the murder of the 52-year-old Iraqi civilian, and handed down its sentence Friday.

The 23-year-old is one of seven Marines and a Navy medic charged for the kidnapping and killing of Hashim Ibrahim Awad in the town of Hamdania in April 2006, after a bungled raid against suspected insurgents.

Hutchins was convicted on charges of conspiracy to commit murder, making a false official statement and larceny. He was acquitted on charges of kidnapping, assault and housebreaking.

Another military jury in California sentenced another defendant in the case Friday. Marine Corporal Marshall Magincalda, who was cleared of more serious charges, was demoted to private, but released from custody. He received a prison sentence of 448 days -- the same amount of time he was already detained.

Another defendant accused of murdering Awad was cleared on that charge last month, but found guilty of less serious offenses. The other four Marines and the medic pleaded guilty earlier this year in return for reduced sentences.

Those who admitted their guilt said they were ordered to hunt down and kill a known insurgent in Hamdania. When they could not find their target at his home, they instead seized Awad from a nearby house and shot him to death.

The servicemen testified 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, AFP and Reuters.