Idaho soldier gets 7 years for Afghan plot

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JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. (AP) -- A 21-year-old Idaho soldier among five charged in the thrill-killings of Afghan civilians last year has been sentenced to seven years in prison.

Friday's sentence came one day after Pvt. 1st Class Andrew Holmes, of Boise, Idaho, changed his plea to guilty in a deal with Army prosecutors. Holmes confessed in court that he fired a heavy machine gun at an unarmed Afghani man from 15 feet away.

Holmes and the other Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers were arrested last year in Afghanistan. Prosecutors say they killed three civilians for sport during patrols.

The Tacoma News Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/oqI0Wr ) that judge Lt. Col. Kwasi Hawks wanted 15 years for Holmes but was restrained by the agreement. Holmes will receive credit for the 499 days he has already been behind bars.