Friday, September 23, 2011

Update: Holmes Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison for War Crimes

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2011 at 4:34 PM

UPDATE: Friday, Sept. 22 4:30 p.m.

Pfc. Andrew Holmes of Boise was sentenced to seven years behind bars for killing an unarmed 15-year-old Afghan boy in January 2010. Holmes was one of six soldiers charged by the military with being part of a so-called "kill team," slaying Afghan civilians while deployed in Kandahar Province.

Army Judge Lt. Col. Kwasi Hawks sentenced Holmes at a hearing this afternoon at Joint Base Lewis McChord, outside of Seattle. Hawks said he understood Holmes was a "junior" soldier in a "difficult situation" but he said it did not excuse the murder.

"You aimed a fully loaded automatic weapon at a child that stood 15 feet away," said Hawks.

Holmes will receive credit for 499 days of confinement at JBLM, awaiting his trial. His family members sobbed in the courtroom as Hawks read his sentence.

ORIGINAL POST: Friday, Sept. 22 12:00 p.m.
Pfc. Andrew Holmes asked for mercy this morning following Thursday's admission that he took part in the death of an Afghan civilian while deployed in Kandahar Province in January 2010. Holmes said he shot a 15-year-old Afghan boy before pleading guilty to murder through inherently dangerous conduct. He also admitted to smoking marijuana during his deployment and possessing a human finger taken from a corpse.

In a military courtroom this morning at Joint Base Lewis-McChord outside of Seattle, a military prosecutor displayed a blown-up photo of the Boise soldier standing over the corpse as he asked the judge to deliver a sentence of 13 and a half years in prison.

Holmes, his parents and a friend asked the judge for leniency.

After a midday recess, Army Judge Lt. Col. Kwasi Hawks is expected to hand down a sentence.

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