An investigating officer has recommended that the Army drop one of its three murder charges against Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, The Seattle Times reported today.
Col. Thomas Molloy’s recommendation is not binding, and Gibbs still could go to trial for three murder charges if the commanding general at Joint Base Lewis-McChord finds there’s enough evidence to forward the charges to a general court martial.
Molloy reportedly found that the Army didn’t have enough evidence to put Gibbs on trial for murdering an Afghan man on a January patrol. Gibbs of Billings, Mont., allegedly provided a grenade to Spc. Jeremy Morlock, who used it to kill the Afghan as a part of a scheme they devised to murder civilians in combat-like situations. Pfc. Andrew Holmes also is charged with murdering the Afghan because Holmes shot at him.
No witnesses have said that Gibbs shot a weapon at the Afghan on the January patrol. He allegedly shot and killed an Afghan noncombatant in February and staged a May killing of another Afghan with the help of two accomplices. Molloy recommended that Gibbs face murder charges for those incidents.
The Army has cast Gibbs as the ringleader of a “kill team” in the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. Eleven of his platoon mates face various charges of wrongdoing and are awaiting proceedings at Lewis-McChord.
Gibbs maintains that he participated in legitimate combat engagements.