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Lawyer says alleged “kill team” member is being released from Army jail

Post by Adam Ashton / The News Tribune on April 22, 2011 at 10:52 am with No Comments »
April 22, 2011 10:52 am

One of five Stryker soldiers accused of murdering Afghan civilians last year is being released from confinement at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, his lawyer said today.

Spc. Michael Wagnon, 30, is “about as happy as can be,” defense attorney Colby Vokey said.

Wagnon is expected to face a court martial in June and he could be sentenced to life in prison if he’s convicted of murdering an Afghan noncombatant during a patrol with the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division in February 2010.

His lawyers told Army Judge Lt. Col. Kwasi Hawks on Thursday that Wagnon was not a flight risk for the upcoming trial. The Army is confirming the details of Wagnon’s release before it discloses information about Hawks’ decision to the media.

Wagnon’s been in confinement since June 2010 with his four codefendants. He’s the first of the five to be allowed to go home.

Wagnon lives on base with his wife, Carrie, and their three children.

The Army alleges that Wagnon willingly participated in a February 2010 shooting with two of his platoon mates and helped alleged “kill team” ringleader Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs cover up the incident by portraying it as combat.

He’s also accused of shooting at unarmed Afghans in March 2010.

Wagnon maintains he’s innocent. He contends he shot at an Afghan in February 2010 because he believed his unit was under attack. He claims he did not fire in the March 2010 incident.

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