Bill Flores

10/20/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/20/2020 10:42

Congressman Flores Welcomes First Sergeant John Hatley Back Home to Central Texas

This week Congressman Bill Flores welcomed home First Sergeant John Hatley after his early release from Fort Leavenworth.

'First Sergeant John Hatley is a Texas native who honorably served almost 20 years in the United States Army. As we would expect from a Central Texan who devoted his life to serving his nation, his military service is characterized by an exemplary record of honor, sacrifice, and valor.

'Despite his distinguished record of service, Sergeant Hatley was unjustly convicted of killing detainees solely on testimony other persons who were being charged for other infractions. The investigation of the allegations against Hatley found no physical or forensic evidence, no identified victims, or reports of missing persons being presented at trial. In summary, our military leadership under the previous administration failed Sergeant Hatley in the quest for political correctness in the middle of the Global War on Terror.

'His release marks a new beginning, and I am thrilled to know that Sergeant Hatley will now be with his family. After years of work, I am proud of and grateful for the work of the dedicated members of my Congressional Team in DC, including Jordan Ballard, Jon Oehmen, and Chris Taylor. I also appreciate the recent support of our efforts by my colleagues on the Congressional Justice for Warriors Caucus to make this day a reality. Though Sergeant Hatley has been released, we will continue to seek nullification of his conviction or full pardon so that this injustice against him will be erased.

'Looking forward, we will continue to work on behalf of unfairly convicted military heroes like Sergeant Hatley and others who should have the same Constitutional protections that available to every other American. Like millions of patriotic Americans, I believe that it is grossly unfair that the anarchist punks who are destroying Portland, Minneapolis, and other cities have greater protections under our Constitution than the brave warriors who defend our country and our freedoms.'

Sergeant Hatley served with distinction in his nearly 20-year career in the Army. In 2009, he was convicted of killing detainees while on patrol in Iraq in 2007. The investigation and trial produced no physical or forensic evidence that a murder had been committed and no missing persons report was filed for any civilians named. Based on the testimony of one soldier who later accepted a plea, Sergeant Hatley was convicted of premeditated murder. Sergeant Hatley has served more than 10 years in prison as a result of the flawed process and conviction.

Congressman Flores has fought for more than five years for the early release and pardon of Sergeant Hatley, to reverse the miscarriage of justice that led to the conviction of a soldier who volunteered to bravely serve his country. More recently, the Congressional Justice for Warriors Caucus (CJWC) was formed to help address unjust military convictions and to reform weaknesses in the Uniform Code of Military Justice. In 2019, the CJWC, of which Flores is a Member, joined Congressman Flores in his efforts to obtain early parole and a pardon for Sergeant John Hatley and other unjustly convicted Military men and women.