"Thrill Kill" Army Private Gets 7 Years For Sport Killing 15 Year Old Afghan
PFC Andrew Holmes, a member of the "Kill Team" of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan that killed villagers for sport, was sentenced today to 7 years in prison for killing an unarmed 15 year old.
Five members of the former 5th Stryker Brigade have faced murder charges in connection with what military prosecutors say were staged attacks on Afghan villagers. In the attacks, prosecutors say, U.S. soldiers fired volleys of guns and grenades at innocent people and then planted weapons to make it look as though the victims had shot first.
Holmes is the 9th soldier convicted. Charges remain pending against two or three others. [More...]
Holmes almost got 15 years because the judge didn't think he understood the gravity of what he did. But a last minute plea deal limited the sentence to 7 years.
More at the Seattle Times:
Holmes yesterday admitted the he shot a 15-year-old Afghan Gul Mudin in January 2010 even though he had doubts about the order he received to fire on the boy. He pleaded guilty to a murder charge described as causing a death through reckless behavior with disregard for human life.
...In the two-day court-martial, Holmes acknowledged shooting 6 to 8 rounds from his automatic weapon at the 15-year-old villager — who was unarmed and, Holmes said, "stood like a deer in the headlights."
The ringleader, Jeremy Morlock, got 24 years. When the judge asked Holmes why he hadn't reported Morlock to superiors instead of following Morlock's orders, he said:
"There is a mindset that what happens in Afghanistan stays in Afghanistan," Holmes said.
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