Soldier skips hearing

A Stryker soldier facing charges that he assaulted a private who blew the whistle on drug use in their platoon during a deployment to Afghanistan this year chose to skip a pretrial hearing scheduled for Monday and move directly to a court-martial.

Spc. Corey Moore of Redondo Beach, Calif., is one of a dozen soldiers in the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division who await proceedings at Joint Base Lewis-McChord for alleged misconduct in southern Afghanistan. Five of them stand accused of murdering civilians.

Last week prosecutors secured a deal that requires the whistleblower, Pfc. Justin Stoner, to take the witness stand.

In sworn statements he gave to investigators in May, Stoner described Moore as part of an inner circle around Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, who allegedly plotted to kill Afghan civilians in combat-like scenarios. That suggests Moore might have information that could help him if he seeks a plea deal.

Moore also is accused of stabbing a corpse the platoon found when soldiers investigated the scene of an Apache helicopter strike.

No court-martial date has been scheduled for Moore, nor for co-defendant Spc. Adam Winfield. Staff Sgt. Robert G. Stevens faced a military judge for his courtmartial last week.