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3 more Lewis-McChord soldiers charged in Afghanistan deaths

Post by Kate McEntee / The News Tribune on June 16, 2010 at 9:57 am with No Comments »
June 16, 2010 1:39 pm

Three more soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord had been charged in the deaths of three Afghan civilians earlier this year.

Pvt. 1st Class Andrew Holmes, Spc. Michael Wagnon and Spc. Adam Winfield were charged Tuesday evening with one count of murder under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, according to a news release issued today from the base. Each is accused in separate incidents.

The three men returned to Lewis-McChord on Monday and have been placed in pretrial confinement.

Five soldiers from the base are now accused in the deaths of Afghan civilians between January and May. Details of the events that led to the charges are expected to be released later today.

Spc. Jeremy Morlock was charged June 4 with three specifications of premeditated murder and one specification of assault. He’s being confined at the base.

Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, 25, was charged in Kuwait on June 8 with three counts of premeditated murder and one specification of assault. The infantryman from Billings, Mont., should be at Lewis-McChord within the next several days, the base reported. He was on his third deployment.

All five soldiers are assigned to B Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. They deployed to Afghanistan last July.

Holmes, 19, is from Boise, Idaho, and is an infantryman. He was on his first deployment.

Wagnon is a 29-year-old Las Vegas, Nev., native. He too is an infantryman and was on his third deployment.

Winfield, 21, is from Cape Coral, Fla. He’s an infantryman and was on his first deployment.

Winfield’s mother Emma Winfield told the Fort Meyers News-Press Wednesday that the family has retained an attorney for their son. She declined further comment.

I Corps spokeswoman Lt. Col. Tamara Parker said the Stryker Task Force commander  at Lewis-McChord has appointed an Article 32 investigating officer in Morlock’s case. An Article 32 is similar to a grand jury investigation in civilian courts,  she said.

“First there will be a bearing,” she said. No date for that hearing has been set. The actual investigation will take some time, she added.

The investigating officer will then recommend to the task force commander whether to go to a court martial and whether it should be handled as a capital case.

The maximum sentence for conviction on a premeditated murder charge is life in prison or death.

Parker said the assault charge against Morlock and Gibbs stem from an assault of a fellow soldier in Afghanistan in connection with the incidents

All five cases are expected to be handled separately, she added.

The 5th Stryker Combat Team is in the process of returning from oversees. Parker said advance parties already have arrived with more units arriving this month and in July.

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