Army 1st Sergeant John Hatley walked out of the federal prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas into the loving arms of family and friends Friday morning.

A military jury convicted Hatley of killing four Iraqi detainees in April of 2009 and sentenced him to life behind bars with a possibility of parole. Prosecutors said Hatley’s unit took the men into custody after a firefight in 2007 near Baghdad.

Hatley has maintained his innocence from the beginning. He says investigators never found any bodies or signs of a shooting. He claims prosecutors based their case on the testimony of a few soldiers who had already taken plea deals.

Texas Congressmen Bill Flores and Louis Gohmert joined Hatley’s family and friends at his release party in Fort Leavenworth. Both Republican lawmakers have been working to get Hatley a presidential pardon, but that has not happened as of yet.

The United American Patriots Group has helped in the effort to win Hatley’s release from prison and provided video of his release Friday.

A homecoming rally is planned for Hatley in Groesbeck on Monday at the high school. It is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. FOX44 News will be there and we will have a full report on FOX44 News @ 9 p.m.