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Army alleges a sixth Stryker soldier participated in Afghan murders

Post by Adam Ashton / The News Tribune on May 17, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
May 17, 2011 3:38 pm

The Army today accused a sixth Stryker soldier at Joint Base Lewis-McChord of participating in staged killings of Afghan civilians during a deployment last year with the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

Staff Sgt. David Bram of Vacaville, Calif., previously faced less serious charges of misconduct that centered on his role in an assault on a private at Forward Operating Base Ramrod in southern Afghanistan in May 2010.

The Army now alleges that Bram played a bigger part in an alleged “kill team” that murdered three civilians.

He now stands accused of:

* Soliciting someone to commit murder,

* Assaulting Afghans with dangerous weapons,

* Engaging in conversations about murder scenarios with his subordinates,

* Planting evidence near a body,

* And, failing to report crimes including murder.

    Bram faces up to 21 years in prison. The Army intends to re-open an Article 32 hearing where an investigating officer will review the new charges and recommend whether he should stand trial for them.

    Twelve Lewis-McChord soldiers in Bram’s platoon were charged with various forms misconduct when they returned from their deployment.

    Five of them were charged with carrying out the three murders. One of the five, Spc. Jeremy Morlock, has pled guilty and agreed to testify against his codefendants.

    Morlock in his plea agreement described Bram as complicit in at least one of the murders. In that document, Morlock said he checked with Bram before executing a scheme he had discussed with another soldier to kill an Afghan with a grenade in such a way that incident would appear to be combat.

    That plot allegedly unfolded in January 2010 when Morlock spotted a young Afghan male in a field.

    “Bram communicated that it was clear to implement the scenario to kill the unarmed Afghan male,” the plea agreement reads.

    Bram appeared in court in October for an Article 32 hearing on the assault charges the Army initially filed against him. He did not speak at the hearing. He has appeared in court to watch some of his codefendants’ hearings, but he has not testified.

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