Soldier accused in Afghan killing granted release

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SEATTLE (AP) -- One of four Washington state-based soldiers accused of murdering civilians while serving in southern Afghanistan in 2010 has been released from confinement as he awaits trial.

The Seattle Times reports that Pvt. 1st Class Andrew Holmes, of Boise, Idaho, was released Friday from confinement at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. A base spokesman says Holmes reported to his unit where he will be monitored and cannot travel outside Washington.

Holmes faces charges that include premeditated murder of a young Afghan farmer in January 2010. A pretrial investigation released last week recommended that Holmes be charged with manslaughter instead.

A forensic expert hired by the defense reviewed photos of the dead farmer and could not find wound patterns made by Holmes' weapon. Based on that expert's deposition, investigating officer Maj. Michael Liles said the Afghan's death "was likely due" to shots fired by two other soldiers

Army commanders at the base will review Liles' report and can accept the recommendation to reduce the charge, or retain the murder charge.

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Information from: The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com