Accused ‘kill Team’ Soldier Cuts Deal
August 2, 2011 by UPI - United Press International, Inc.
JOINT BASE LEWIS MCCHORD, Wash., Aug. 2 (UPI) — A soldier who first raised alarms about an alleged team that killed Afghan citizens struck a plea deal with the U.S. Army for a prison sentence, officials said.
Army and defense attorneys did not release terms of Spc. Adam Winfield’s plea agreement yet, saying they would be revealed Friday during the soldier’s court-martial at Joint Base Lewis McChord in Washington state, The (Tacoma, Wash.,) News Tribune reported Tuesday.
However, people knowledgeable about the case told the newspaper Winfield wouldn’t serve more than eight years in prison and the most serious charge would be changed from murder to a lesser charge of manslaughter.
Winfield of Cape Coral, Fla., admitted to Army investigators last year he joined two soldiers in killing a civilian in southern Afghanistan.
He and four other soldiers returned early to the United States from deployment with the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, facing charges that they killed three Afghans. Seven others from their platoon were charged with lesser crimes.
If his agreement is accepted by the court, Winfield’s would be the eighth person convicted in the Army’s investigation into his platoon.
During discussions with investigators, Winfield said he was an unwilling participant in the crimes, saying he feared retaliation from alleged ringleader Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, the Tribune reported. Gibbs, 26, awaits an October court-martial and has denied participating in the killings.
Pvt. Jeremy Morlock of Wasilla, Alaska, pleaded guilty in March to helping kill three Afghans. Morlock received a 24-year sentence with the possibility of parole instead of life in prison and has been testifying for Army prosecutors.