Soldier: Key 'kill team' witness admitted lying

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JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. (AP) -- A man who was locked up with the government's key witness in the case of U.S. soldiers accused of killing three Afghan civilians for sport says the witness acknowledged fabricating stories against two of the defendants in hopes of winning leniency.

Spc. Ronald Darnell Washington has provided a sworn statement in the case saying that Spc. Jeremy Morlock, who was a leader of the plot and has been sentenced to 24 years in prison, told him last month that Spc. Michael Wagnon and Pvt. Andrew Holmes had nothing to with staging the unjustified killings. Wagnon, of Las Vegas, and Holmes, of Boise, Idaho, both claim that they believed they were responding to legitimate threats during the killings last year.

Washington's statement was first reported by The News Tribune of Tacoma on Tuesday. Morlock testified during a pretrial hearing in Wagnon's case earlier in the day and insisted that Wagnon participated with full knowledge.

In all six soldiers have been charged with involvement in the conspiracy to kill civilians.