Corporal Jeremy N. Morlock is among five Lewis-McChord Stryker soldiers charged with pre-meditated murder in a case that includes allegations of widespread drug use, the collection of body parts and photos of the U.S. soldiers holding the Afghan bodies like hunter's trophies.
The other soldiers charged in the killings are Staff Sgt. Calvin R. Gibbs, Spc. Adam C. Winfield, Spc. Michael S. Wagnon, II, and Pfc. Andrew Holmes.
Morlock faced an Article 32 hearing on Monday at Lewis-McChord, during which investigators will determine if there is enough evidence to court-martial the soldier.
The hearing began with 13 witnesses who asserted their right to remain silent, including other defendants in the case and 1st Lt. Roman G. Ligsay, who has been removed from his leadership of the platoon but is not charged.
The charges involve three separate events alleged to have occurred between January and May at or near Forward Operating Base Ramrod in Afghanistan.
Army documents detail how prosecutors believe each soldier is involved:
Morlock, Gibbs, and Holmes are accused of throwing a grenade at an Afghan civilian and fatally shooting him with a rifle sometime in January, even though they faced no threat from the civilian.
On Feb. 22, prosecutors say Morlock, Gibbs, and Wagnon shot and killed a second Afghan civilian with a rifle. Wagnon is also accused of later trying to get another solider to erase evidence of the murders from a computer hard drive.
Army prosecutors say a little more than two months later, on May 2, Morlock and Gibbs once again used a grenade and a rifle to kill an Afghan civilian. Winfield is also accused of taking part in that murder.
On the tape obtained by ABC News, Morlock admits his role in the deaths of three Afghans but claims the plan was organized by his unit's sergeant, Calvin Gibbs, who is also charged with pre-meditated murder.
"He just really doesn't have any problems with f***ing killing these people," Morlock said on tape as he laid out the scenario he said the sergeant used to make it seem the civilians were killed in action.
"And so we identify a guy. Gibbs makes a comment, like, you know, you guys wanna wax this guy or what?" Morlock told military investigators during an interview videotaped in May at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.
The corporal said Gibbs gave orders to open fire on the civilian at the same time Gibbs threw a hand grenade at the victim.
"He pulled out one of his grenades, an American grenade, you know, popped it, throws it, tells me where to go to whack this guy, kill this guy, kill this guy," Morlock told the investigators.
Morlock's lawyer, Michael Waddington, told ABC his client made his confession at a time when he was taking heavy medication and didn't kill anyone.
Outside the courtroom Monday, Waddington said: "There's no doubt that the bullets from my client's weapon, that the one grenade that he did have did not kill these individuals."
But investigators admitted there's no way to prove it since there are no bodies, no weapons seized, and no crime scene investigation because it was a war zone full of insurgents. Plus they feared investigating alleged murders would cause havoc among the civilians.
In documents released earlier this month, officials said at least two of soldiers had kept body parts taken from Afghan corpses.
Gibbs, the most senior of the charged members, was found in possession of "finger bones, leg bones and a tooth taken from Afghan corpses," charging papers said, and Wagnon was found with a skull taken from an Afghan corpse.
Investigators said Morlock and Gibbs, in an attempt to derail the investigation, displayed the finger bones while threatening to kill another man "if he spoke about hashish use within the platoon to command and law enforcement authorities," the document said.
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