Sunday, November 6, 2011

War Crimes Trial Continues Monday

Posted By on Sun, Nov 6, 2011 at 8:54 AM

Testimony will resume Monday in the court martial hearing of an Army staff sergeant accused of masterminding a series of war crimes in Afghanistan. Boise Pfc. Andrew Holmes has already been sentenced to seven years behind bars for his role in the murder of a 15-year-old Afghan boy in January 2010. He was one of six soldiers charged with being part of a so-called "kill team," slaying Afghan civilians while deployed in Kandahar Province. Five of the six have pointed to a superior, Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, as their ringleader.

On Friday, Gibbs contradicted the accounts of his fellow soldiers, saying that as far as he knew, each of the killings "was legitimate."

When his lawyer Phil Stackhouse asked Gibbs why he took fingers from the corpses, the soldier said he wasn't proud that he had done so.

"In my mind, it was like keeping the antlers off a deer you'd shoot," said Gibbs. "You have to come to terms with the things you're doing. Bodies in general didn't mean anything to me."

Gibbs, whose trial is being held at Joint Base Lewis McChord outside of Seattle, is fighting 16 charges, including premeditated murder and assault. He faces up to life in prison if convicted.

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