July 6, 2010
Posted: 03:53 PM ET
Battlefield justice or murder?
That question was the focus of our CNN investigative documentary, "Killings at the Canal: The Army Tapes," which aired last November. The documentary was about three U.S. soldiers who shot and killed four Iraqi detainees in 2007.
Their families say the so-called "catch and release" program was not working, which was why these soldiers killed the four, unarmed Iraqi detainees. One of the soldiers, who was later convicted of premeditated murder, told Army investigators that killing the four detainees had likely saved countless American lives. It was an emotional story to report, and one that brought in thousands of responses worldwide.
We often hear from people who wonder what happened to the three convicted soldiers.
We know two of them had their clemency requests denied. All three are serving long sentences at Fort Leavenworth.
Recently, we got an e-mail from John Hatley's wife, Kim. Her husband is serving a 40-year prison term for the murders. This is part of her e-mail to us:
"I am on a mission to get word out about my husband, (former) Infantry First Sergeant John Hatley who is highly decorated, served 20 years in the U.S. Army, but was sentenced to prison for 'life' for allegedly killing 4 insurgents (enemy combatants) in Baghdad, Iraq at pre-surge, OIF – Operation Iraqi Freedom 06-08. This was a 15-month long deployment at one of the most violent periods in the Iraq war, each day riddled with extreme sectarian violence. This is a case of self-defense, for the 'detainee catch & release policy' was yet another flawed policy, that placed our troops in danger and continues to exist to this day. My husband did everything he could to bring his soldiers back alive. They were all like sons to him. This deployment resulted in six of my husband's soldiers getting killed; 2 by small arms fire and 4 by IEDs – Improvised Explosive Devices."
Kim Hatley calls her husband a "hero," and she pledges to keep fighting until he is released from prison. The Army says what these three soldiers did that day in Iraq was murder, pure and simple.
What do you think? Should these soldiers be released? Or do you think they deserve 30 to 40-year prison sentences?
Here is a link to our full investigation and documentary.
IF you'd like to read more about John Hatley's case, his website is below.
Filed under: Abbie Boudreau
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