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Article 32 hearing set for soldier charged in murder of Afghanistan civilians

By Staff | Nov 20, 2010

A Cape Coral soldier is the only one left to have an Article 32 hearing scheduled out of a group of five accused of murdering Afghan civilians.
Military officials reported Friday that an Article 32 hearing will be held Monday for Spc. Michael Wagnon, 29, of Las Vegas, Nev. Wagnon was the fourth solider to have a hearing set in connection to the three deaths.
He is facing one specification each of conspiracy to commit premeditated murder, conspiracy to commit assault consummated by battery, committing assault with a dangerous weapon and conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline. An investigation officer will examine the evidence against him.
All of the accused are being held at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.
“JBLM officials emphasize that the charges constitute an accusation and that the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty,” Joe Kubistek of the public affairs office at Joint Base Lewis-McChord wrote in a statement.
“The investigating officer will review the evidence presented by the defense and prosecution attorneys in order to make a recommendation regarding the sufficiency of the charges and the appropriate level of court-martial,” Kubistek stated.
Spc. Adam Winfield, 21, of Cape Coral, has yet to have a hearing set.
Pvt. 1st Class Andrew Holmes, 19, of Boise, Idaho, had an Article 32 hearing on Monday, while Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, 25, of Billings, Mont., had his Article 32 hearing Nov. 9. As of Tuesday, no decision had been made in either case.
Holmes is facing one specification each of premeditated murder, conspiracy to commit premeditated murder, conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline, violating a lawful general order and wrongfully using a controlled substance.
Gibbs is charged with three specifications of premeditated murder and two specifications each of conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline, wrongfully endeavoring to impede an investigation and dereliction of duty.
He also is facing one specification each of committing assault with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to commit premeditated murder, unlawfully striking another solider, conspiracy to commit assault consummated by battery, conspiracy to commit aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon, wrongfully communicating a threat to injure and violating a lawful general order.
In October, following an Article 32 hearing, court-martial charges were referred against Spc. Jeremy Morlock, 22, of Wasilla, Alaska, by the general court-martial convening authorities. As of Tuesday, a military judge had yet to set a trial date in military court trial date for Morlock.
He is charged with 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.
If convicted on all specifications, Morlock faces a maximum punishment of imprisonment for life, without the possibility of parole, officials reported.
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 were assigned to the B Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.
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 sheets state that he obtained a hard drive containing evidence of the murders and asked another soldier to erase the information.