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Jury selection begins in court-martial of alleged Hamdania murder ringleader

[JURIST] Jury selection began Tuesday in the court-martial [JURIST report] of US Marine Sgt. Lawrence G. Hutchins III, charged [DOC text] with murder, kidnapping, larceny, assault, housebreaking, conspiracy, and making a false official statement for his alleged role in the April 2006 kidnapping and murder of an Iraqi civilian in Hamdania [USMC timeline; JURIST news archive]. Hutchins, the leader of the squad involved in the incident, allegedly killed and left Hashim Ibrahim Awad [Wikipedia profile] by the side of the road with a shovel and firearm to appear as if he were planting an improvised explosive device. Prosecutors have indicated that they will not seek the death penalty against Hutchins.

Five other defendants have pleaded guilty [JURIST report] for their roles in the incident; they are expected to testify against Hutchins and the only other remaining defendant Cpl. Marshall Magincalda [advocacy website]. Last Friday, a military jury demoted Cpl. Trent Thomas [advocacy website] to private and sentenced him to a bad-conduct discharge [JURIST report] after finding him guilty of kidnapping and conspiracy [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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