Soldier accused in thrill-kill plot testifies

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JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. (AP) -- An Army staff sergeant accused of masterminding the killings of three Afghan civilians for sport is testifying in his own defense.

Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs of Billings, Mont., took the witness stand Friday in his court martial at Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle. He's charged with premeditated murder, cutting fingers off the corpses of the victims and other crimes.

Under questioning from his lawyer he acknowledged cutting the fingers and said: "I guess that's just a product of war. I'm not proud of it."

But he maintained that the killings he was involved in were legitimate engagements.

Gibbs is the highest ranking of five soldiers charged in the killings. Two codefendants have testified against him, but Gibbs' lawyer says they're conspiring to blame him for what they did.