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Tuesday, August 2, 2011
U.S. SOLDIERS SPORTS KILLING SCANDAL: Afghan Kill Team Whistleblower To Plead Guilty!
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By MATTHEW COLE,http://abcnews.go.com / Aug. 2, 2011.
U.S. Army Spc. Adam Winfield is seen in this undated file photo. (Courtesy Winfield family/AP Photo).
The U.S. soldier who was the first to come forward about the alleged sport killings of Afghan civilians last year has reached a plea agreement in his case, according to a person familiar with the agreement.
Adam Winfield, a member of the Army's 5th Stryker Brigade, is one of five soldiers charged in connection with the deaths of three Afghan civilians that occurred in southern Afghanistan between January and May 2010. Prosecutors allege that Winfield, Staff Sgt. Calvin R. Gibbs, Cpl. Jeremy Morlock, Spc. Michael S. Wagnon II, and Pfc. Andrew H. Holmes participated in one or more of the murders and staged them to make unarmed Afghans appear to be armed insurgents.
Winfield, who told his parents while deployed that members of his unit had planned and executed the killings for sport, had been charged with murder for his part in the third and final murder in May of last year.
In the deal, Winfield will plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter and a minor drug charge. The involuntary manslaughter charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Winfield's lawyers have argued that their client was ordered to fire on an unarmed civilian but had fired high, and had not been responsible for the death. Winfield's original charge carried a maximum sentence of life without parole.
Military prosecutors are hoping Winfield's testimony in exchange for the plea agreement will help convict Gibbs, who is charged in all three Afghan deaths and believed to be the ringleader of the group.