Army sergeant released from federal prison after 11 years, East Texas congressman says he was wrongfully convicted

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LEAVENWORTH COUNTY, Kansas (KETK)- John Hatley, Army first was released from federal prison Friday morning and his loved ones and a few Texas congressmen were present for this moment.

Hatley was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole because he was found guilty of the premeditated murder of 4 Iraqi detainees in 2009.  

But, no physical or forensic evidence was found during an investigation by the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division. Additionally, no bodies were found.

Hatley was convicted because multiple soldiers testified against him after accepting plea deals.

U.S. Congressman Louie Gohmert from East Texas and congressman Bill Flores have both worked toward obtaining a Presidential pardon for Hatley because they said he was wrongfully convicted.

Both representatives were present during Hatley’s release.

“Nothing can replace over a decade he lost as a free man, but he deserves to enjoy every moment of his new liberty. Our prayers are with him and his family as they amazingly face the future without bitterness,” said Gohmert.

He also mentioned that the military system needs to change.

“First Sergeant Hatley’s conviction is a prime example of why we need to reform the military justice system and it is one of the reasons why we are currently working to reform the Uniform Code of Military Justice through our Caucus,” said Gohmert.

Like Gohmert, Flores said he was also relieved that Hatley will be with his family and he spoke about going further with Hatley’s case.

“Though Sergeant Hatley has been released, we will continue to seek a full pardon so that this injustice against him will be permanently removed from his record.” Flores said.

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