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One soldier faces court martial

By Staff | Oct 16, 2010

By TIFFANY REPECKI
trepecki@breezenewspapers.com
One of five soldiers accused of murdering Afghan civilians will go before a military court for a trial, according to information released Friday.
The general court-martial convening authorities referred court-martial charges against Spc. Jeremy Morlock, 22, of Wasilla, Alaska, to a general court-martial, according to Maj. Kathleen Turner, spokeswoman for the I Corps Public Affairs Office at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.
“The commanding general made this decision after reviewing the charges and evidence against Spc. Morlock, the Article 32 investigating officer’s report, the recommendation of the special court-martial convening authority, and the recommendation of the staff judge advocate,” Turner wrote in a release.
A military judge will now arraign Morlock and set dates for potential motion hearings and the trial, she reported. No trial date had been set as of Friday.
Morlock is facing three specifications of premeditated murder and one specification each of assault, conspiracy to commit premeditated murder, conspiracy to commit assault and battery, wrongfully endeavoring to impede an investigation, violating a lawful general order and wrongfully using a controlled substance.
According to Turner, Morlock faces a maximum punishment of imprisonment for life, without the possibility of parole, if convicted on all specifications.
“The investigation is still open, so it’s not closed,” she said Friday during a telephone interview. “There’s still a long road to go.”
On May 20, U.S. forces announced that five soldiers had been implicated in the alleged murders of three Afghan civilians between January and May. All five are assigned to B Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.
Along with Morlock, the other four accused are:
n Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, 25, of Billings, Mont.
n Spc. Adam Winfield, 21, of Cape Coral, Fla.
n Pvt. 1st Class Andrew Holmes, 19, of Boise, Idaho
n Spc. Michael Wagnon, 29, of Las Vegas, Nev.
Gibbs is facing three specifications of premeditated murder — one for each death — and one specification of assault, according to their charge sheets. Winfield, Holmes and Wagnon face one specification of premeditated murder.
“They are still in pretrial confinement,” Turner said Friday of all five men.
According to the charge sheets, Winfield is accused of killing Mullah Adahdad by throwing a grenade at him and shooting him with a rifle on or about May 2, while Holmes is accused of killing Gul Mudin by throwing a grenade at him and shooting him with a rifle on or about Jan. 31.
Wagnon is charged with killing Marach Agha by shooting him with a rifle on or about Feb. 22. The charge sheets state that he is also charged with impeding a criminal investigation for obtaining a hard drive which contained evidence of the murders and asking another soldier to erase the hard drive.
Winfield’s parents have said that he notified them via e-mail of illegal actions on the part of some members of his platoon and that they notified army and U.S. officials of those actions because their son was in fear for his life if he notified authorities directly while deployed.
According to Associated Press reports, the army has acknowledged calls to Fort Lewis -McChord.