A Stryker brigade soldier who tried to blow the whistle on an alleged plot to kill Afghan civilians for sport has been removed from protective solitary confinement at his own request, his father said Friday.
Spc. Adam Winfield had been jailed on his own for about a month after he reported being threatened by co-defendant Pfc. Andrew Holmes, but he’s now back in the general population at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord detention facility with Holmes and another defendant, Spc. Michael Wagnon.
“He could not stand another day in solitary,” father Chris Winfield wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press. “We are a little nervous having him back in the same area as Holmes and Wagnon, but Adam said he would rather be there than solitary confinement.”
In all, five soldiers are charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder in what prosecutors describe as random attacks on three Afghan civilians during patrols in January, February and May. The charges are among the most gruesome to emerge from the Afghan war, with allegations that some in the unit collected fingers from Afghan corpses as war trophies.
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The alleged ringleader and highest-ranking defendant, Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, has been held at a civilian jail nearby to keep him separated from the other defendants.
The soldier described as Gibbs’ closest collaborator in the killings, Spc. Jeremy Morlock, is being detained at a Navy brig in Washington state.
Base spokeswoman Maj. Jenny Willis said she could not immediately confirm Winfield’s transfer from protective pretrial custody, but said earlier this week that he had been treated humanely and that “everything that’s been done has been for his security and his safety.”
Winfield sent troubled Facebook messages home to his parents after the first killing, telling them that soldiers in his unit had deliberately killed one civilian.