Soldiers convicted in Afghan murders probe remain in the Army

June 21, 2011 

Three Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers convicted of crimes and ordered kicked out of the Army in connection with a yearlong investigation into alleged civilian murders in Afghanistan continue to wear the Army uniform and draw military pay.

And they probably will until the last of their codefendants goes on trial this fall, Army I Corps spokesman Maj. Chris Ophardt said.

The three are key witnesses against the six remaining soldiers accused of taking part in the killings or other crimes tied to their Stryker brigade deployment last year.

Two of the soldiers given bad-conduct discharges, Spcs. Adam Kelly and Corey Moore, were convicted at courts-martial. The third, Spc. Emmitt Quintal, pleaded guilty in a deal with prosecutors.

It’s up to Lewis-McChord’s senior Army officer to decide when to sign their discharge papers. They can be ordered to testify as long as they’re in the military. If they refuse, they’d face more charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

The three, plus two other soldiers who reached plea agreements with the Army, are seen regularly at hearings for their codefendants at Lewis-McChord. The deals they signed require them to testify when called.

A total of 12 platoonmates originally faced courts-martial because of alleged crimes, ranging from drug use to beating up a whistleblower, during their deployment to Afghanistan last year with the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. Five allegedly killed Afghan noncombatants in staged deaths.

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