Monday, October 16, 2006

Alleged Hamandia Ringleader In Court

(Courtesy of KFMB San Diego) The alleged ringleader in the Hamandia murder scandal, Marine Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins, III, is scheduled to appear before a military judge for his Article 32 hearing today to determine if he will referred to a military courts-martial. Hutchins attorney stands behind his client and says that Hutchins is innocent.

The first of the "Pendleton eight," Navy Hospital Corpsman Melson Bacos, accepted a plea bargain last week. Bacos plead guilty to kidnapping and conspiracy charges in connection with the Hamandia murder case.

During his plea agreement testimony, Bacos testified that Hutchins was the one who fired the shots that killed the Iraqi civilian in Hamandia. Bacos indicated that the murder was prompted by his patrol leader's anger at the release of a suspect "terrorist" from Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison. During his plea bargain testimony, Bacos implicated other marines for helping to cover up the alleged murder.

It appears that the Pendleton eight solders' house of cards has crumbled further in recent days and is looking rather bleak for those charged. This morning News Channel 8 KFMB San Diego reported that more plea deals could be in the works for some of the Marines in the case.

We are going to have to keep an open mind as the trials unfold and testimonies are given. This case is complicated due to the nature of combat fatigue and stress. What was going through the patrol members minds that morning in Hamandia and the orders that they were given have yet to be revealed. Stay tuned as more information as it becomes available. News channel 8 has been an excellent source of trial information.

Check for periodic updates at: News Channel 8 KFMB San Diego

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