Court Martial Of Alleged 'Kill Team' Ringleader Gets Underway

Oct 30, 2011

Opening statements are expected to get underway Monday in a major court martial at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. At the center is Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs, the alleged ringleader of a group of western Washington soldiers accused of war crimes.

Gibbs is charged with three counts of premeditated murder in the killings of unarmed Afghan civilians. His fellow soldiers have described him as a "sociopath" who led talks in their platoon about killing noncombatants.

He's charged with possessing finger and leg bones and a tooth taken from Afghan corpses. Other charges include assaulting a fellow soldier to keep him quiet and possessing so-called "drop weapons" that could be planted on victims.

Gibbs' attorney has repeatedly said that any combat situation his client was involved in was a "appropriate engagement."

The witness list of the court martial includes three of the four soldiers who prosecutors say were part of what become known as the "kill team." They are Privates Jeremy Morlock and Adam Winfield, who have already entered guilty pleas, and Specialist Michael Wagnon, who has not gone on trail.

Gibbs' court martial at Joint Base Lewis-McChord could last a week.

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