(Reuters) - The highest U.S. military appeals court on Wednesday overturned the murder conviction of a Marine sergeant found guilty in 2007 of leading a squad in Iraq that was accused of killing a civilian they had captured, bound and gagged.

Three judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces found Sergeant Lawrence Hutchins gave a statement to a U.S. Navy investigator while in custody that should have been ruled inadmissible and tainted his court-martial.

The case stems from the 2006 death in Hamdania, Iraq, of Hashim Ibrahim Awad, 52, a father of 11 and grandfather of four.