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Army charges 3 more in Afghan civilian killings

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Deaths occurred between January and May
  • Soldiers are being held in pre-trial confinement
  • Two others charged in killings earlier this month
  • Investigation into deaths is ongoing, Army says
  • Afghanistan
  • Kandahar

Seattle, Washington (CNN) -- Three additional U.S. soldiers based in Washington state are facing murder charges in the deaths of three Afghan civilians between January and May and have been placed in pre-trial confinement, the Army announced Wednesday.

Pfc. Andrew Holmes, 19, from Boise, Idaho, and Spc. Adam Winfield, 21, from Cape Coral, Florida, each face one count of murder under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Holmes is accused of killing Afghan civilian Gul Mudin in January with a grenade and rifle. Winfield is accused of killing civilian Mullah Adahdad in May in a similar manner.

Spc. Michael Wagnon, 29, from Las Vegas, Nevada, faces one count of murder under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, as well as impeding a criminal investigation. According to the charges, Wagnon is accused of shooting to death Marach Agha in February. The Army also alleges Wagnon obtained a computer hard drive that contained evidence of the murders and asked another soldier to erase the information.

All three men are stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, near Seattle.

Earlier this month, Spc. Jeremy Morlock, 22, from Wasilla, Alaska, and Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, 25, from Billings, Montana, each were charged with three counts of murder and one count of assault. Lt. Col. Tamara Parker, an Army spokeswoman, said the three counts of murder against Morlock and Gibbs involve the same victims as the cases against Holmes, Wagnon and Winfield.

The alleged killings took place at or near Forward Operating Base Ramrod in southern Afghanistan's volatile Kandahar province, according to the charges.

Morlock is in pre-trial confinement at his Seattle base, while Gibbs was charged in Kuwait and he is expected to return to the installation within days, the Army said.

All five soldiers are assigned to B Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. The soldiers deployed with their unit to Afghanistan in July 2009, the Army said.

The Army says the investigation into the deaths is ongoing.