Courts & Crime

Man accused in Afghan killing could be released from jail

A Stryker soldier who allegedly helped murder an Afghan civilian last year asked an Army judge Thursday to release him from confinement at Joint Base Lewis-McChord while he awaits his June court-martial.

Spc. Michael Wagnon has been in jail since June with four fellow platoon mates who also face charges that they murdered noncombatants during a deployment with the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

He would be the first to go home if Judge Lt. Col. Kwasi Hawks grants his request.

Wagnon, 30, believes he’s been kept in confinement because the Army views him as a “media risk,” meaning commanders worry he’d talk to reporters about the alleged “kill team” within his platoon.

He was ordered into pre-trial confinement 10 months ago when the Army accused him of murdering a civilian and trying to destroy evidence related to his case.

Since then, the Army has dropped the obstruction charge. Wagnon’s attorneys contend he should go free for now because he’s neither a flight risk nor a threat to derail the Army’s case against him or his codefendants.

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