The alleged ringleader of a "kill team" that report- edly murdered civilians during an Army deployment to Afghanistan earlier this year is scheduled to appear in a Joint Base Lewis-McChord courtroom Tuesday for a pre-trial hearing.
Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, 25, of Billings, Mont., is the highest-ranking soldier among five from his platoon in the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division who stand accused of murder.
Gibbs allegedly plotted to kill civilians in combat-like scenarios and kept body parts from Afghan corpses, among other crimes.
He denies the charges. Phillip Stackhouse, his attorney, says the three killings for which Gibbs faces murder charges were combat engagements. Seven more soldiers from Gibbs’ platoon are accused of lesser charges, such as smoking hashish and assaulting the private who blew the whistle on their drug use.
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Gibbs looms large in all of the cases against his platoon mates. All 12 have been called to testify at two previous Article 32 hearings, but they’ve refused to testify.
Stackhouse said he has asked the Army to bring the four other soldiers who stand accused of murder out of pre-trial confinement to attend Tuesday’s hearings. It’s not clear whether they’ll agree to testify.
If they don’t, prosecutors likely will submit written statements they gave to Army investigators in May.
On Monday, the base is holding another Article 32 hearing for Cpl. Emmitt Quintal, 22, who is accused of smoking hashish, violating a general order and helping to beat up the whistleblower.
Adam Ashton: 253-597-8646 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/military