SEATTLE (AP) - Five Stryker Brigade soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChordkilled three civilians in separate shootings in Afghanistan'sKandahar Province earlier this year, charging documents released bythe Army on Wednesday allege.
The Army says all three victims were shot and two of them werehit by thrown grenades.
Two of the soldiers also are accused of assault and another ischarged with seeking to destroy evidence.
In all, five soldiers have been charged with premeditated murderin the killings. All are assigned to B Company, 2nd Battalion, 1stInfantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd InfantryDivision.
The Army did not say what motives might have been involved.
The brigade, which made its first deployment to Afghanistan inJuly, has seen heavy fighting against Taliban insurgents andsuffered 33 combat deaths. Two other soldiers have died of illnessand another in a vehicular accident.
The three civilians killed near the Army's Forward OperatingBase Ramrod in southern Afghanistan are identified as Gul Mudin,who died sometime in January; Marach Agha, killed on or about Feb.22; and Mullah Adahdad, killed on or around May 2.
Officials at Lewis-McChord said Pvt. 1st Class Andrew Holmes,19, of Boise, Idaho, Spc. Michael Wagnon II, 29, of Las Vegas,Nev., and Spc. Adam Winfield, 21, of Cape Coral, Fla., were chargedTuesday with one count each of premeditated murder.
Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, 25, of Billings, Mont., and Spc. JeremyMorlock, 22, of Wasilla, Alaska, each were charged earlier thismonth with three counts of premeditated murder and one count ofassault.
The charging sheets, with the names of the accusers and officersinvolved blanked out, say Morlock and Gibbs shot Agha and usedfragmentary grenades and their rifles to kill Mudin andAdahdad.
Holmes is accused of throwing a grenade at and shooting Mudin,Winfield of doing the same to Adahdad, and Wagnon of shootingAgha.
The documents also allege Morlock hit and kicked a person on May5 and spat in a victim's face. Gibbs also is accused of hitting andkicking a person on that date. All identifying information isredacted, including names, gender, whether one or more victims wereinvolved and whether they are civilians.
Wagnon is further accused of impeding a criminal investigationby asking another soldier to erase a computer hard drive thatcontained evidence of the killings.
Spokeswoman Lt. Col. Tamara Parker said Gibbs was charged June 8in Kuwait and is in transit to Lewis-McChord, a joint Army-AirForce base south of Tacoma. Morlock was charged June 4. He and theother three soldiers are being confined at the base, as Gibbs willbe when he arrives.
The next step for the soldiers will be Article 32 hearings,similar to a grand jury. Officers to lead those proceedings havenot yet been appointed and no dates for the hearings have been set,Parker said.
It could not be immediately determined whether defense lawyershave been appointed for all five men.
The maximum penalty for a premeditated murder conviction is lifein prison or the death penalty. Lewis-McChord spokesman Joseph Pieksaid decisions on whether to seek the death penalty normally aremade after an Article 32 hearing.
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