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Five Soldiers charged in murders of Afghans

By C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (June 17, 2010) -- Five Soldiers have been charged with the premeditated murders of three Afghan civilians.

Charges were filed against Pvt. 1st Class Andrew Holmes, 19, of Boise, Idaho; Spc. Jeremy Morlock; Spc. Michael Wagnon, 29, of Las Vegas, Nev.; Spc. Adam Winfield, 21, of Cape Coral, Fla.; and Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, 25, of Billings, Mont.

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All five Soldiers are assigned to B Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. That unit deployed to Afghanistan in July 2009 and is now processing to return to the U.S.

According to the charge sheets issued for each Soldier, Morlock, Gibbs and Holmes are accused of the premeditated murder of the Gul Mudin, sometime in January 2010. The charge sheets indicate each Soldier used fragmentary grenades as well as their rifles to kill Mudin.

The charge sheets also accuse Morlock, Gibbs and Wagnon of the premeditated murder of Marach Agha, Feb. 22, 2010. In that case, the Soldiers are accused of using their rifles to kill Agha.

Finally, the charge sheets indicate that Morlock, Gibbs and Winfield are accused of the premeditated murder of Mullah Adahdad, May 2, 2010. There, the charge sheets indicate the Soldiers killed Adahdad using both fragmentary grenades as well as their rifles.

All of the murders occurred at or near Forward Operating Base Ramrod in Afghanistan.

Both Morlock and Gibbs have additional specifications on their charge sheets. They are accused of unlawfully striking an individual, May 5, using both their hands and feet. Morlock is also accused of spitting in that individual's face.

Wagnon has also been charged with attempting to impede an Army Criminal Investigation Division investigation by taking a hard drive and asking another Soldier to erase it.

Currently, four of the five accused Soldiers are being held at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. The fifth, Gibbs, was in confinement in Kuwait as of June 16. It is expected he will arrive at Joint Base Lewis-Washington by June 17.

A spokesman from JBLW said it is likely the cases of the accused will be heard there.

Of the five Soldiers, two have been accused of three specifications each of article 118 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice - murder. The remaining three have been accused of one specification each of article 118.

The maximum punishment for violation of article 118 is death. The last active duty Soldier to be executed under the UCMJ for murder, was John A. Bennett, in 1961.

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