The News Tribune is still pressing military authorities to release the charge sheets for 12 Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers caught up in accusations of conspiring to assault and murder Afghan civilians, doing drugs and beating up a fellow soldier.
The Army did release charge sheets fairly promptly for the original five defendants. But as we reported on Aug. 26, those Stryker brigade soldiers now face additional charges, and seven more soldiers have been swept up in the dragnet. Meanwhile, no documents have been released, other than a bare-bones “summary of charges.”
I Corps spokeswoman Maj. Jenny Willis left a voice mail on my phone Thursday saying: “(The charge sheets) are not through review at the D.A. level, so we can’t give you anything right now, but we’re still tracking that you want them and we’ll get them to you as soon as we can. Were hoping that they’ll be available next week.” (Lewis-McChord has Friday off for an extra-long holiday weekend.)
We believe the Army’s reasons for charging these soldiers with the most heinous crimes imaginable are in the public interest, and the charge sheets already should’ve been released. In civilian courts in Pierce County, prosecutors routinely give us charging documents on the same day as the arraignment.
The accused soldiers are with the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, recently reflagged as the 2nd Brigade.