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Court-martial recommended for soldier in Afghan killings probe

From Courtney Yager and Scott Zamost, CNN
Spc. Jeremy Morlock is one of five U.S. soldiers accused of premeditated murder in the slayings of Afghan civilians.
Spc. Jeremy Morlock is one of five U.S. soldiers accused of premeditated murder in the slayings of Afghan civilians.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Spc. Jeremy Morlock is one of five soldiers charged with murdering Afghan civilians
  • Recommendation for court-martial was included in a document obtained by CNN
  • Prosecutors laid out their evidence against Morlock last week
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(CNN) -- A U.S. soldier accused of killing civilians in Afghanistan should face a court-martial on murder and other charges, an Army officer has recommended.

The recommendation, included in a document obtained by CNN, comes after prosecutors laid out their evidence against Spc. Jeremy Morlock in a hearing last week. Morlock is one of five members of the Army's 5th Stryker Brigade who have been accused of premeditated murder in a series of incidents between January and May.

The recommendation goes to the brigade's commander. It was contained in a document that summarized last week's hearing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, an Army-Air Force installation outside Tacoma, Washington.

Base officials would not confirm the authenticity of the document, which has not been publicly released.

Morlock has been charged with three counts of premeditated murder and several other charges, including obstruction of justice, assault and using drugs. Morlock's attorneys argued during last week's hearing that the soldier was operating at "diminished mental capacity" because of the use of drugs, including hashish and pain medication.

But the recommendation from the investigating officer found "no evidence that the accused was behaving in an erratic, impaired or irrational manner" at the time of the killings.

In addition to the five men charged with murder, seven other soldiers from the same unit face charges ranging from conspiracy and interfering in a military investigation to drug use -- specifically, smoking hashish -- while in Afghanistan.