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Soldier charged with killing Afghan civilian to go before military court

By Staff | Jan 11, 2011

A third soldier accused of murdering Afghan civilians will go before a military court for a trial, according to information released last week.
The general court-martial convening authorities referred court-martial charges against Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, 25, of Billings, Mont., 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.
“Joint Base Lewis-McChord officials emphasize that the charges are merely an accusation and that the accused is presumed innocent until prove guilty,” she wrote in a prepared statement Friday.
A military judge will arraign Gibbs and set dates for potential motion hearings and the trial, Turner reported. No trial date had been set as of Tuesday.
U.S. forces announced in May that five soldiers, including one from Cape Coral, had been implicated in the deaths of three civilians between January and May of 2010. All five were assigned to B Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.
Spc. Adam Winfield, 21, of the Cape is accused of killing Mullah Adahdad by throwing a grenade at him and shooting him with a rifle on or about May 2, according to charge sheets. Pvt. 1st Class Andrew Holmes, 19, of Boise, Idaho, is accused of killing Gul Mudin in the same manner on or about Jan. 31.
Spc. Michael Wagnon, 29, of Las Vegas, Nev., is charged with killing Marach Agha by shooting him with a rifle on or about Feb. 22. The sheets also state that Wagnon obtained a hard drive containing evidence of the murders and asked another soldier to erase the information.
On Oct. 15, Spc. Jeremy Morlock, 22, of Wasilla, Alaska, became the first solider to have the general court-martial convening authorities refer court-martial charges against him to a general court-martial. On Dec. 3, Winfield became the second in the group to be referred court-martial charges.
Both had been arraigned as of Tuesday, but no trial dates had been set.
Winfield waived his rights for an Article 32 hearing prior to the case being referred to a general court-martial, Turner reported in prepared statement
Morlock was referred to a court-martial following an Article 32 hearing.
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, wrongfully using a controlled substance and violating a general order.
Winfield faces one specification each of premeditated murder, committing an assault with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to commit premeditated murder, conspiracy to commit aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon and wrongfully using a controlled substance.
Both men face a maximum punishment of imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole if convicted on all their charges, according to Turner.
Gibbs faces three specifications of premeditated murder, along with 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 unlawfully striking another solider, committing an assault with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to commit premeditated murder, 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 general order.
According to Turner, Gibbs faces a maximum punishment of imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole if convicted on all charges as well.
Holmes had an Article 32 hearing Nov. 12. He faces one specification 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.
Wagnon had an Article 32 hearing Nov. 19. He faces one specification 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.
No decision had been made in either case as of Tuesday, Turner reported.