Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Soldier to Plead Guilty to Afghan Murders

From the Associated Press

A 22-year-old soldier accused of carrying out a brutal plot to murder Afghan civilians faces a court-martial Wednesday in a case that involves some of the most serious criminal allegations to arise from the U.S. war in Afghanistan.

Spc. Jeremy Morlock, of Wasilla, Alaska, has agreed to plead guilty to three counts of murder, one count of conspiracy to commit assault and battery, and one count of illegal drug use in exchange for a maximum sentence of 24 years, said Geoffrey Nathan, one of his lawyers.

His client is one of five soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s 5th Stryker Brigade charged in the killings of three unarmed Afghan men in Kandahar province in January, February and May 2010. Morlock is the first of the five men to be court-martialed — which Nathan characterized as an advantage.

“The first up gets the best deal,” he said by phone Tuesday, noting that even under the maximum sentence, Morlock would serve no more than eight years before becoming eligible for parole.

According to a copy of the plea agreement, which was obtained by The Associated Press, Morlock has agreed to testify against his co-defendants. In his plea deal, Morlock said he and others slaughtered the three civilians knowing that they were unarmed and posed no legitimate threat.

He also described taking a lead role in the January incident — lobbing a grenade at the civilian while another soldier shot at him, and then lying about it to his squad leader.

The court-martial comes days after a German news organization, Der Spiegel, published three graphic photos showing Morlock and other soldiers posing with dead Afghans. One image features Morlock grinning as he lifts the head of a corpse by its hair.

Army officials had sought to strictly limit access to the photographs due to their sensitive nature. A spokesman for the magazine declined to say how it had obtained the pictures, citing the need to protect its sources.

Morlock told investigators the murder plot was led by Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, of Billings, Mont., who is also charged in the case; Gibbs maintains the reasons behind the killings were legitimate.

Nathan said Morlock’s mother, hockey coach and pastor are among the witnesses who might testify on his behalf in court. He indicated the defense would argue that a lack of leadership in the unit contributed to the killings.

“He’s really a good kid. This is just a bad war at a bad time in our country’s history,” Nathan said. “There was a lack of supervision, a lack of command control, the environment was terrible. In his mind, he had no choice.”

After the January killing, platoon member Spc. Adam Winfield, of Cape Coral, Fla., sent Facebook messages to his parents saying that his fellow soldiers had murdered a civilian and were planning to kill more. Winfield said his colleagues warned him not to tell anyone.

Winfield’s father alerted a staff sergeant at Lewis-McChord, which is south of Seattle, but no action was taken until May, when a witness in a drug investigation in the unit also reported the deaths.

Winfield is accused of participating in the final murder. He admitted in a videotaped interview that he took part and said he feared the others might kill him if he didn’t.

Also charged in the murders are Pvt. 1st Class Andrew Holmes of Boise, Idaho, and Spc. Michael Wagnon II of Las Vegas.

Seven other soldiers in the platoon are charged with lesser crimes, including assaulting the witness in the drug investigation, drug use, firing on unarmed farmers and stabbing a corpse.

Link: http://www.armytimes.com/news/2011/03/ap-soldier-to-plead-guilty-to-afghan-murders-032311/

38 comments:

chrischaos said...

arent all soldiers in Afghanistan murdering people?! guess someones gotta take the rap i guess.
motherTruckin Popsicles b!tch

Moob said...

crazy

Banacek said...

I saw the pictures from this. It made me sick.

Toto said...

sick stuff!

http://all-around-toto.blogspot.com/

Devon Davidson said...

Why am I not surprised?

Pappa Püllï said...

I dont get it why people need to make war all the time.. Damn good story man, got many respect for soldiers!

Hot New Music Today said...

Sad but I'm sure it happens all too often.

Graff said...

no way u can keep all individuals strained like this. special people are everywere

Crazyy guyyy said...

Rather disappointing that our soliders are doing this :-/ so much hatred in the world.. very detailed post thanks

Drab Maestro said...

Ugh, and people from America say they treat us badly over there...no one knows what's really going on, but I hate when people don't look at the big picture.

@chrischaos yeah, war is technically murder...but it's mutual, and believe it or not, there are rules to war...you just don't do stuff like this and expect to get away with it :(

Rob said...

I read about this, it honestly makes you wonder what the effects of war are on the human mind.

KUSHtunes said...

It's kind of crazy to think that this could easily happen anywhere in the world by military forces and we rarely give it much thought.

A.C.Brown said...

dear oh dear, still what you going to do it's only because of the media we even find out about this kind of thing that's been going on since someone sharpened a stick

consuela bananahammoc said...

Sicccck!

thenitefalls said...

This is a sad story but I bet this happens all the time!

Tasty said...

I still remember seeing that video of those soldiers throwing the puppy off a cliff.

Seriously deranged individuals, some soldiers are.

Bassislv said...

not surprised by this

Merkin said...

It's just like in normal population, some people are just strange..

KylePIB said...

yeah prob happens all the time :(

redblade79 said...

I don't blame the guy. War makes you do crazy things.

Lost.in.Idaho said...

War! Huuh. What is it good for?

Jay.CA said...

war. :(

RootYourDroid.net said...

It's sad, we need to learn from these mistakes.

"a lack of leadership led him to commit these crimes".

If the leaders are teaching are soldiers the correct way to do things, what can we expect!

God bless you!

JuX said...

8 years for murdering 3 people?
The justice system is fucked!

Rabidmoose said...

Pretty unfortunate story.

Bloggins said...

What a story...

Bhopz said...

the military is a harsh place.

Tera said...

I know it sounds cliche' but war really does change people.. I'm not making excuses for these guys as they've done some terrible things. But living in an environment like that would seriously screw them up!

Daniel Andrade said...

sick...

Tyrone said...

Pretty sickening, but Tera is right, war changes people.

schultzz said...

im with tera, the enviroment they live on is seriously fucked up.

Electric Addict said...

wow this is crazy

Samuel said...

war does change people especially those who are fighting, they might be something from the "blood thirst" affect that I heard about. Crazy stuff thought.

Patres said...

Maybe the problem is really that these soldiers don't wanna be there but they have no choice, and they're not trained properly, in the discipline and mental requirements that a job like this requires, specially when they're given more power than they know what to do with.

Alan said...

oh man this is serious stuff.

Daily01 said...

LMFAO you call that a deal? GOod luck spending 24 years in jail. Dont drop the soap. Following!

Pentele said...

It has always happened. Human nature is strange indeed.

mac-and-me said...

sick and sad

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