Lewis-McChord court-martial in Afghan killings

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JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. (AP) -- Opening statements are scheduled Monday at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in the court-martial of an Army staff sergeant accused of killing three Afghan civilians.

Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, of Billings, Mont., has maintained the killings of the men early last year were legitimate. He pleaded not guilty Friday to 16 criminal charges.

Gibbs is one of five soldiers from Lewis-McChord charged in the deaths. Some soldiers in the unit said it was his idea to slaughter civilians and stage the deaths to make them appear to have been combatants.

Prosecutors say Gibbs also led others in assaulting a soldier who reported drug use in the unit.