Soldier admits taking war trophies, denies murder
Sunday, October 30, 2011
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. (AP) -- An attorney for an Army staff sergeant charged in the thrill killings of three Afghan civilians says his client did take fingers off bodies as war trophies, but he wasn't involved in any killings.
The court martial for Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, of Billings, Mont., began Monday at Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle. He pleaded not guilty to 16 criminal charges.
Military prosecutor Capt. Dan Mazzone told the panel of five jurors that Gibbs wanted to kill people just to kill them. Gibbs' lawyer, Phil Stackhouse, says his hash-smoking comrades engaged in a conspiracy to lay the blame on him.
Gibbs is one of five Lewis-McChord soldiers charged. Co-defendants say it was his idea to slaughter civilians and stage the deaths to make them appear to have been combatants.