An Army staff sergeant accused of leading a rogue "kill squad" charged with murdering three Afghan civilians took the stand Friday during his court martial and denied carrying out the killings. Yet he admitted to cutting off body parts as part of what prosecutors called a gruesome practice of keeping battlefield "trophies."
A military judge sentenced a soldier accused of being part of a rogue Army "kill squad" that murdered civilians in Afghanistan to three years in military prison and to receive a bad-conduct discharge Friday.
"Sgt. Gibbs asked if we were OK to go ahead and shoot this guy. We said 'yeah,'" Army Pvt. Jeremy Morlock testified Thursday in a hearing for one of a group of U.S. soldiers accused of forming a rogue "kill squad" while fighting in Afghanistan.
The German news outlet Der Spiegel has published photographs of what appear to be two U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan posing over the bodies of dead Afghans -- images which threaten to further complicate the American military effort there.
Military officials have referred charges against Staff Sgt. David Bram -- in relation to a larger case involving five soldiers accused of killing Afghan citizens for sport -- to a general court martial, officials at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington said Monday.
A military prosecutor handling the case of a soldier accused of killing Afghan civilians for amusement simply read the charges against Pfc. Andrew Holmes as his closing argument, adding that there was ample evidence to proceed to a court martial.
Twelve U.S. soldiers face a variety of charges in what military authorities believe was a conspiracy to murder Afghan civilians and cover it up, along with charges they used hashish, mutilated corpses and kept grisly souvenirs.
Five U.S. soldiers facing murder charges in the deaths of three Afghan civilians earlier this year have now been charged with "conspiracy to commit premeditated murder," and seven more soldiers have been charged in connection with the probe into the incidents.
Three additional U.S. soldiers based in Washington state are facing murder charges in the deaths of three Afghan civilians between January and May and have been placed in pre-trial confinement, the Army announced Wednesday.