A soldier being court-martialed on a U.S. Army base near Seattle for the murder of three Afghan civilians has agreed to plead guilty Wednesday in hopes of earning a reduced sentence, according to one of the attorneys handling his case, The Wall Street Journal reports.
"My client is admitting on the record to three counts of murder, plus one count of conspiracy to commit assault and battery and one count of illegal drug use," said Geoffrey Nathan, a lawyer for Army Spc. Jeremy Morlock.
Spc. Jeremy Morlock is one of 12 soldiers charged with an array of offenses stemming from an incident last year when the Army says three Afghan civilians were murdered.
This week, the German news magazine Der Spiegel published three photographs said to show two U.S. soldiers accused of being part of a rogue "kill team" last year during their tour in Afghanistan. Perhaps the most damaging image appears to show Spc. Morlock smiling as he lifts the head of a dead, bloodied Afghan man.
A court-martial is schedued to start Wednesday for Spc. Morlock, 22, of Wasilla, Alaska. He is one of 12 soldiers charged with an array of offenses stemming from an incident last year when the Army says three Afghan civilians were murdered by members of the 5th Stryker Brigade operating in the Maiwand district of Kandahar Province.
Mr. Nathan indicated that once Spc. Morlock stipulates to the military's facts in the case, he will mount what amounts to a "good soldier defense" for Spc. Morlock. The court will be asked to consider the defendant's overall military record, and mitigating factors such as coercion by others. He said his client may testify in any cases rising from the incidents.
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